Is Steve Fossett alive?

Steve Fossett was the first person to fly solo around the world in a hot air balloon. Now, a British newspaper "The Daily Telegraph" believes Fossett may have pulled off an even bigger stunt- faking his own death to cover up an affair.

The rumor is rubbish, according to Fossett's friend Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Chairman.

"Well, if it were true, I'd be the happiest man ever. I mean I would love to see Steve Fossett alive, and I would love to see him living somewhere with a beautiful lady," said Sir Branson.

Through her attorney, Fossett's wife reportedly dismissed the rumors. In February, a judge in Chicago granted Peggy Fossett's request to have her husband declared dead so she was clear to collect on Fossett's $10 million estate.

Fossett disappeared in the Nevada desert in September 2007. The 63-year-old was flying a light plane when he took off from a remote airstrip. It was supposed to be a short trip, but he has not been seen since. Nor has his plane been located despite an exhaustive search by the U.S. Civil Air Patrol. While looking for Fossett's plane, the U.S. Civil Air Patrol found six other planes.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Lt. Colonel Cynthia Ryan of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol told the newspaper Fossett could still be alive, based on her 14-years of experience in search and rescues. This afternoon, the U.S. Civil Air Patrol, responded: "Recent comments attributed to Ryan regarding the search for Fossett contain errors of fact and appear to be taken out of context...."

The statement also read that Lt. Colonel Ryan's comments were not approved by the higher-ups at the Civil Air Patrol.

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