A police officer involved in the search for adventurer Steve Fossett - who went missing last Monday after taking off from hotelier Barron Hilton's Flying M Ranch, roughly 70 miles southeast of Reno, Nevada - has admitted he "may never be found", the BBC reports.
Forty-five aircraft have scoured an area of 10,000 square miles in an attempt to pinpoint Fossett's presumably crashed Bellanca Citabria Super Decathalon. In the process, they have discovered the remains of six other aircraft, but no sign of Fossett.
One sighting south-east of the Flying M Ranch intially raised hopes that he might have been located, but it turned out to be a false alarm. Nevada Civil Air Patrol Major Cynthia Ryan admitted: "Once again, you had your hopes raised and dashed."
Although Lyon County Undersheriff Joe Sanford told AP there was "a possibility - that he may never be found", he remained optimistic, offering: "With the resources and assets we have, I feel comfortable we'll find the plane in the near-term. Whether it'll be by us, a hunter or a skier, we'll find it. I like to believe the glass is half full."
The search process has been made considerably more difficult by the fact that Fossett didn't file a flight plan for his jaunt to reccy possible locations for an attempt on the land speed record. He did, however, have "full radio capability", but has ominously not made contact. ®