Steve Fossett’s disappearance in September 2007 was one of civil aviation’s biggest mysteries. Even though 50,000 sets of eyes scoured thousands of satellite images no one was able to locate the crash site. Online searchers blamed their failure on lack of training saying they simply weren’t sure what they were looking for in the low resolution images. Searchers in the air and on the ground said the digital effort tagged so many false tips, it was distracting. Meanwhile some overzealous online searchers skipped protocol and went straight to authorities with their leads, resulting in the Civil Air Patrol changing its office phone number.
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