Round-the-world flying adventurer Steve Fossett may have faked his own death, investigators have claimed.
Fossett, the first man to fly non-stop round the earth in a hot air balloon, went missing last September when his final flight in a light plane over the Nevada desert went missing.
However, Lieutenant Colonel Cynthia Ryan of the US Civil Air Patrol has said Fossett, whose body or plane was never found, could still be alive.
She said: "I've been doing this search and rescue for 14 years. Fossett should have been found.
"It's not like we didn't have our eyes open. We found six other planes while we were looking for him. We're pretty good at what we do."
Lt Col Ryan believes Fossett may have faked his own death due to personal problems or fears about his business dealings.