Family of pilot missing in Gulf fundraises for private search mission

This June 6, 2016, photo provided by Best Fur Friends Rescue, shows Dr. Bill Kinsinger, with Jojo, a dog from Fort Worth Animal Care & Control, at a regional airport in northern Illinois. Officials said Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, that Kinsinger, a doctor volunteering for a dog rescue operation who failed to land his small plane at an airport in Central Texas as planned and was later tracked by fighter jets flying over the Gulf of Mexico appeared unresponsive and may have been suffering from a lack of oxygen. A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said the plane kept flying and was last observed on radar 219 miles northwest of Cancun, Mexico, flying at 15,000 feet. Kinsinger took off from Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City Wednesday afternoon after filing a flight plan to land in Georgetown, Texas. (Best Fur Friends Rescue via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After the Coast Guard ended its search for a missing pilot heading to Georgetown, and last seen flying unconscious over the Gulf of Mexico, the pilot’s family is fundraising for a private search mission.

Bill Kinsinger, 55, of Oklahoma City, was flying a Cirrus S22T single-engine plane from Oklahoma to Central Texas when he was seen on radar at 15,000 feet going into the Gulf of Mexico on Jan. 3. The Coast Guard reported he was likely unresponsive due to hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in the blood.

The family’s GoFundMe page has raised around $15,000 of its $100,000 goal. “I have decided the best response is to do what they wouldn’t and go out to the waters dragging a sonar to tell me what it looks like under the surface and recover his plane and give him a proper burial where he wished,” Kinsinger’s son, Jake, wrote on the page.

Kinsinger’s son says he is selling his truck and putting the money toward the search.

The Coast Guard said on Jan. 8 it was ending its search after crews searched 17,458 nautical square miles for around 79 hours.

“Ending a search is a difficult decision that we put the utmost thought and consideration into,” said Capt. David Cooper, chief of incident management, Eighth Coast Guard District. “Dr. Kinsinger was a well loved man and our hearts go out to everyone impacted during this tragic time.”

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