Fossett's wife asks court to declare him legally dead

The wife of American adventurer Steve Fossett has asked a court to declare him legally dead, nearly three months after his small plane vanished over the Nevada wilderness, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Peggy Fossett, who lived in Chicago with her husband, filed a court petition in Cook County, Illinois, on Monday asking that the millionaire aviator’s assets be distributed according to his will.

“As anyone can imagine, this is a difficult day for our family,” Peggy Fossett said in a written statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We will continue to grieve and heal, but after nearly three months we feel now that we must accept that Steve did not survive.”

The court petition said Steve Fossett’s “wealth is vast, surpassing eight figures in liquid assets, various entities and real estate”.

Fossett (63) disappeared on September 3 after taking off in a small single-engine Bellanca airplane from Yerington, Nevada.

The search was suspended a month later after a squadron of planes scoured huge swaths of rugged mountain terrain without finding traces of his aircraft.

The court document says that Fossett was flying for pleasure and not to look for a lake bed that could serve as a site for a bid to break the land-speed record as previously believed.

Fossett was no stranger to danger as he had spent the past two decades chasing air and sea world records.

Last year, he guided his Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer 42 000km around the world, setting the record for the longest solo, non-stop, non-refuelled flight in terms of distance.—AFP

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