Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 19:22 UK

Elite team renews Fossett search

Steve Fossett climbs out of his cockpit after his record-breaking flight around the world in 2005
Mr Fossett had about 100 world records to his name

A team of 10 elite athletes and expert mountaineers has resumed the search for missing adventurer Steve Fossett.

The team is concentrating its efforts on remote wooded areas of Nevada near where Mr Fossett, 63, was last seen, the Associated Press reported.

Multimillionaire businessman Mr Fossett was declared legally dead in February, five months after he disappeared while flying solo over the Nevada desert.

Exhaustive searches have failed to find any trace of him or his plane.

Geologist and adventure racer Simon Donato, leading the latest search effort, has said they will search in wooded areas where wreckage could have been difficult to spot from the air.

"Whether we luck out and find the wreckage or not, at least our tracks will be preserved so that in the future if someone wants to give this a try they'll know where we already were and they can got to the next mountain range over," he said.

The area being searched is close to the ranch of hotel magnate Barron Hilton, at Yerington, from where Mr Fossett's plane had taken off for a flight expected to last three hours.

Simon Donato (l), Greg Francek, Tyler LeBlanc and Keith Szlater at the search party's base camp
The team will cover about 20 miles (32km) a day
The rugged terrain includes mountain peaks between 10,000ft (3,000m) and 11,000ft (3,350m).

Team members, who are paying their own way, have a base camp between the Bodie Hills and Sweetwater Mountains.

They began their search on Monday and hope to cover up to 20 miles (32 km) every day until Friday or Saturday, depending on the terrain.

Mr Donato, 31, said Mr Fossett was a hero to many people and he dismissed speculation that his disappearance might have been staged.

"We're here on the premise that he did crash, unfortunately," he said. "I really respect him. He has done so much."

Following Mr Fossett's disappearance, many private and military planes searched an area of about 20,000 square miles (51,800 sq km) for him.

Ground searches were also carried out and other volunteers scoured high-resolution satellite photographs over the internet.

Widow 'not involved'

In August Robert Hyman, an American investor and mountaineer, plans to bring in a team of up to 15 climbers, mountain guides and others with local expertise to scour an area east of the section where Mr Donato will search.

Mr Hyman has said he will focus on the Wassuk Range of mountains.

Mr Fossett's widow, Peggy, has issued a statement saying that she is not involved in the latest search and has "no further plans for additional searching".

Steve Fossett had about 100 world records to his name.

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

Map showing the location of the search

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Fossett's record-breaking career

Adventurer Fossett declared dead
16 Feb 08 |  Americas
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Fossett search reveals old wrecks
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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

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