Nevada - (Ass Mess) Fears are mounting of a JFK Junior/ Payne Stewart-type of plane vanishing act for US adventurer Steve Fossett.
The 63 year old balooning world record holder took off from a private airfield at the Flying M Ranch at Yerington, Nevada owned by Paris Hilton's grandfather William Barron Hilton
His single-engine Citabria was carrying four full fuel tanks and began the Monday evening trip without posting any kind of flight plan.
Fossett then vanished into thin air according to Civil Air Patrol sources.
Meanwhile in London his former balooning partner Richard Branson said today that Fossett was likely to have been trying to locate empty Nevada lake beds suitable for a proposed attempt at the land speed record.
He flatly refuted any suggestions that "the curse of Paris Hilton" could be at work in Fossett's disappearance and denied "spooky similarities" to other notable mysteries surrounding tragic, famous plane journeys such as the last ones undertaken by John F Kennedy Junior or Payne Stewart.
"Steve is a tough old nut," Branson said today.
Branson also dismissed rumors that Fossett might have crashed into the nearby Area 51 at Roswell "and been abducted by its aliens".
"That's poppycock," Branson said today.