Flier and balloonist Fossett declared dead

Feb. 15, 2008 at 9:45 PM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Steve Fossett, the commodities trader turned record-breaking aviator, was declared legally dead Friday, five months after he vanished while flying in Nevada.

Judge Jeffrey Malak in Chicago granted the petition filed by Fossett's wife, Peggy, The New York Times reported.

Fossett, 63, who made millions of dollars trading soybeans, retired to a life of adventure. He set three round-the-world records, became the first person to circumnavigate the globe alone in a balloon and to fly a plane alone around the world without refueling, and set a speed record in his catamaran.

He disappeared Sept. 3, 2007, while on a seemingly routine flight in a single-engine plane. Fossett was staying at the Flying-M Ranch near Yerington, Nev., a resort owned by William Barron Hilton and open only by invitation.

An air search of the remote area on the Nevada-California border found no trace of the plane or its electronic beacon.

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