On September 3, 2007, Fossett left the Nevada airstrip for a three hour flight in a Bellanca Citabria Super Decathalon plane. Fossett had not filed a flight plan and did not tell people where he was headed that day. When Fossett failed to return, search crews were sent out but his whereabouts were not determined despite repeated efforts to locate him. A judge declared Fossett legally dead on February 15, 2008 at the request of Fossett's wife.
Fossett was a millionaire and an adventurer who made his money trading commodities and securities. Prior to his disappearance, he set a record for the longest flight by any aircraft. He did so by traveling 26,389 miles without refueling. He was also the first person to circumnavigate the world in a hot-air balloon.
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Nancy Upham, a spokesperson for the Inyo forest, said the plane was badly destroyed in the crash. The engine was found 300 feet from the plane's main fuselage, much of which disintegrated on impact. Authorities believe the plane may have hit the mountainside head-on.
So far, there is no word on what caused the plane to crash and the NTSB's acting chairman says that it will be weeks or even months before they know what happened.