FACTBOX: Adventurer Fossett, man of daring, wealth

Thu Oct 2, 2008 8:18am EDT
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(Reuters) - Hikers in northern California have found personal items belonging to millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, who vanished a year ago, said police in Mammoth Lakes, California on Wednesday.

Fossett was declared legally dead by a Chicago court in February, five months after the airplane he was flying vanished over Nevada on September 3, 2007.

Following are some facts about Fossett.

* Born in California, Fossett became a record-breaking pilot after earning a fortune as a financial trader.

* Fossett was the first person to fly solo around the world by balloon in 2002 and then by airplane in 2005.

* He climbed more than 400 mountain peaks, including the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, swam the English Channel, raced in the Le Mans auto race and competed in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

* He set 116 records in balloons, airplanes, sailboats, gliders and airships -- which all rely upon the wind, hence the title of his autobiography, "Chasing the Wind."

* In the book, Fossett recalled biting his lead dog on the right ear to get him going in the Iditarod.

* Fossett, who was 63, grew up in California and obtained a masters in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis. A stockbroker at first, he founded a securities trading firm that made him millions. Hedging financial risk in trading helped him manage risk in his adventures, he told Reuters in 2006.

* An Eagle Scout at 13, Fossett remained active in the Boy Scouts of America and received several awards as an adult.

(Compiled by Philip Barbara, Paul Grant and Bernie Woodall, Editing by Sandra Maler)