Nevada hopes adventurer Fossett’s wife pays for the search efforts

When a person goes missing in the wilderness and people try to find them, it’s not cheap. In Steve Fossett’s case, the price tag was $687,000. In Nevada, the state where multimillionaire Fossett disappeared, people don’t have to pay the cost of the search parties who are look for them.

If you get stuck on a mountain somewhere without a dime in your bank account, you don’t have to worry that you’re too poor to find. In Fossett’s case, having oodles of money didn’t matter either. He wasn’t found. Still, since his wife has all that money, Nevada is hoping that his estate will help cover more of the costs. $200,000 was paid early on. The family isn’t obligated, it just would be nice. With state budget crunches and shortfalls, some extra cash would come in handy the governor’s thinking. [see AP article]

I’m thinking, there is a bit of a dilemma. When people take off in the wilderness,or head off in a small plane that might go down in a hard to find place, there is risk involved and bad things do happen. Being found is a costly undertaking. People who don’t take such risks are then paying for those who do. However, leaving someone out there is not an option, unless it can’t be helped because the person is just too lost. I can see how some might be miffed that a rich guy gets lost because he was a risk taker and thus, put even more of a strain on a state’s strained budget, but how do we put a dollar amount on human life? There’s something in us that wants lost people to be found. Perhaps its primal–as in, if I’m lost, please come get me mentality.

We all want someone watching our back when we set off into the wild. Metaphorically speaking, isn’t the wild a symbol for life? It’s just that the line between safety, adventure and a dollar sign is not so clear.