Fossett Search Drastically Reduced

More than 2 weeks after aviator vanished, tips are drying up
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2007 1:55 PM CDT
Members of the Civil Air Patrol prepare to take-off to continue the search for missing millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, at the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nev on Friday, Sept. 7, 2007. A squadron...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Searchers are dramatically scaling back efforts to find missing adventurer Steve Fossett as the rescue mission enters its third week and tips dry up. At one point, 45 aircraft plied the skies looking for wreckage, but the Nevada Civil Air Patrol is suspending its efforts, limiting searchers to five National Guard helicopters and two CAP planes on standby, the AP reports.

"It's against our nature to walk away from a search," said an air patrol major. "But at some point you have diminishing returns." Volunteer pilots have made 245 flights since Fossett went missing on Labor Day, covering 98% of the 20,000 square mile search area—more than twice the size of New Jersey.