Image: Search pilot John Morgan
Kim Komenich  /  AP file
Volunteer John Morgan flies in search of missing adventurer Steve Fosset on Sept. 12 in Minden, Nev.
updated 9/30/2007 6:53:55 PM ET 2007-09-30T22:53:55

Teams on the ground and in two aircraft kept up the hunt for millionaire aviator Steve Fossett on Sunday after a new analysis of radar data provided fresh optimism.

The formal aerial search by the Civil Air Patrol and the Nevada National Guard had ended Sept. 19 after more than two weeks of scouring a rugged area of deserts and mountains twice the size of New Jersey.

However, analysis of radar data and satellite images from Sept. 3, the day Fossett disappeared in a small plane, led Air Force technicians to believe they had spotted clues to his route.

“We said the only time we would reopen the search is if we had viable leads. This time we believe we do,” Gary Derks, the state Department of Public Safety official in charge of the search, said Sunday.

The area being searched was southeast of hotel magnate Barron Hilton’s million-acre ranch in western Nevada, where Fossett had been staying. Nothing was found by Sunday afternoon.

Fossett, 63, was the first person to circle the globe solo in a balloon. He also swam the English Channel, completed the Iditarod sled-dog race and scaled some of the world’s best-known peaks.

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