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Admiration spurs additional search for adventurer

Simon Donato of Calgary, Alberta, and his team began another search Monday for Steve Fossett, the American multimillionaire who vanished during a plane flight over the Nevada desert last September, according to the Canadian Press.

“He’s been someone that I’ve always followed and admired. He’s done some pretty amazing things,” said Donato in the report. “We are going to be doing a ground search through some heavily forested areas and some really cliffy areas, where the airplanes and the satellites just can’t see the ground.”

Donato, who recently received his doctorate in geology from McMasterUniversity in Ontario, will be followed by a group of athletes, search-and-rescue experts and a paramedic for an intense hunt for Fossett. They will cover 12 to 24 miles a day in the high-altitude canyons and forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Fossett was last seen taking off in a small two-seater airplane Sept. 3, 2007 and after several searches was declared legally dead Feb. 15.

Donato says Fossett’s widow is aware of the search, but she has not responded to his phone calls. Donato says if they find a site with Fossett’s remains, they’ll turn the site over to the local authorities, whereupon his death will be considered criminal until proven accidental, according to the report.

“I’ve done a lot of research on this. With the amount of searching that’s been done, this is the next place to search on the list of potential places,” said Fossett in the report. “I think we have a good chance. I don’t think we’re going to miss him if he’s there.”

— Elizabeth Ellis