With the Eastern Sierra in the eye of the search for famous aviator Steve Fossett, Mono County Sheriff Rick Scholl found himself in Barron Hilton’s Flying M Ranch, along with many of the luminaries at the center of the now more than week-long search.
Sheriff Scholl said that he had gone to the Minden-Gardnerville Airport, where the command center for the Fossett search coordinates many air searches and many agencies. The Sheriff said that while he was there, a call came in that Governor Schwarzenegger wanted law enforcement and air officials to go to the Flying M Ranch to coordinate efforts.
Scholl said that Hilton’s Citation jet flew to Minden to pick up the officials and fly them to the famous resort that lies along the East Walker River.
Mono’s Sheriff said that he met with Steve Fossestt’s personal pilot, in charge of coordination of grid maps. He said that a hangar at the Flying M serves as a command center. Sheriff Scholl said that the operation seems well-structured with a safe and controlled environment.
The group learned that Mono County has 50 Search and Rescue members, willing to serve as a resource if needed.
Over the week-end, authorities reported to Sheriff Scholl that it appeared a debris field spotted during the search was Fossett’s plane. The Sheriff and many others prepared to fly to Minden when they then learned that it was a false alarm.