Fossett's widow asks court to declare him dead

The wife of millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, who disappeared three months ago while flying his plane in California, has asked a court to declare him legally dead.

The request was a step toward resolving the legal status of Fossett’s estate,
which according to court papers is ‘vast, surpassing eight figures in liquid
assets, various entities and real estate.’

Fossett, 63, disappeared after taking off in a single-engine plane from an
airstrip near Yerington, Nevada, heading toward Bishop, California. Fossett was on a
pleasure flight and not looking for a dry lake to use as a surface on which
to set the world land speed record, as was initially reported, Peggy Fossett said.

He did not have a parachute, nor did he take a watch that had a transponder
and could have sent out a distress signal. There was a transponder aboard but no signal was received. With winter closing in, a rescue effort that involved dozens of planes and helicopters was officially suspended after more than a month of searching.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded in a preliminary report that the plane was destroyed in a fatal accident. Fossett had become one of America’s best-known adventurers in more than a decade of pouring his fabulous wealth – earned in Chicago’s commodities markets – into chases for world records in sailing,
ballooning and other rugged and sometimes dangerous outdoor activities.