BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 16 February 2008, 03:23 GMT
Adventurer Fossett declared dead
Steve Fossett climbs out of his cockpit after his record-breaking flight around the world in 2005
Fossett has set many world records as pilot, balloonist and sailor
Millionaire businessman and adventurer Steve Fossett has been declared legally dead by a court in Chicago.

Mr Fossett has been missing for five months since his single-engine plane disappeared over the Nevada desert.

His wife had filed a court petition to have him declared dead so the process of executing his will could begin.

The judge said the evidence Mr Fossett was dead was "more than sufficient". He described the 63-year-old's fortune as "vast", and an eight-figure sum.

There has been no trace of Mr Fossett since he took off from Yerington, Nevada, on 3 September 2007.

The flight had been expected to last about three hours and Mr Fossett was not required to, and did not, file a flight plan.

World records

In the weeks after Mr Fossett's disappearance, extensive aerial searches were carried out in both Nevada and California.

At the height of the operation 45 planes were scouring the mountainous terrain.

The search did discover several previously undiscovered downed planes - some of which were decades old - but neither Mr Fossett, nor his aircraft, were found.

Mr Fossett reportedly took the flight to look for locations that could be used for an attempt on the land speed record.

He had racked up about 100 world records.

In March 2005, Mr Fossett became the first to fly a plane solo, non-stop around the globe.

Fossett's record-breaking career

Fossett sought via Google Earth
10 Sep 07 |  Technology
Fossett search reveals old wrecks
09 Sep 07 |  Americas
Rescuers widen hunt for Fossett
07 Sep 07 |  Americas
The difficult search for Fossett
05 Sep 07 |  Americas
Fossett flies to non-stop record
11 Feb 06 |  Science/Nature

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific