Steve Fossett: Four Weeks On

Oct 1, 2007 1:03pm

Never say never, but Steve Fossett’s trail seems very, very cold.  He took off from a Nevada airstrip four weeks ago today.  Searchers, made hopeful by the radar trails revealed last week by the Air Force, spent the weekend looking for Fossett’s single engine plane in an area southeast of there. They came up empty-handed. As of this morning, Nevada’s Department of Public Safety says the planes have once again stopped looking.  Authorities promise that if new leads develop, they’ll follow them, but for now, there are none. The Reno Gazette Journal posted a story from the Associated Press this morning.  Reno is the closest city of size, and their story is four paragraphs long. Did Fossett have reason to want to disappear?  They say they’ve thought of that.  Was there foul play?  They say they’ve looked into that possibility too. People are still invited to go to Amazon’s "Mechanical Turk" site and look over newly-posted satellite images that may provide clues.  The idea of the site is to enlist people to do what artificial intelligence does not (at least not yet) do well–pick out unusual things in a picture.  Their preview page is HERE, but so far nobody’s seen anything. Perhaps, as people have noted before, Fossett’s disappearance is a reminder that for all the technology we’ve developed, the world is still a large place, and it’s still possible for a small plane to disappear in the rugged, unpopulated terrain of the American west. Fossett’s own website,, has a mesage from Sept. 26: "On behalf of the entire Steve Fossett team, we would like to thank everyone who has written to the office and the website over these past three weeks to share their prayers and kind wishes for Steve’s safe return. In addition, we thank everyone participating in the search via the Amazon Mechanical Turk / Google Earth initiative."

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