OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The coast guard has ended their search for a plane that took off from the Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City last week.
The small aircraft, which can seat five people, was supposed to land in Georgetown, Texas, but radar data shows that it kept going and flew south over the Gulf of Mexico.
The Coast Guard said they searched 17,458 nautical square miles for approximately 79 hours. NORAD sent four F-16 fighter jets to help in the search.
Officials said they at one point found the plane, but could not get the pilot to respond. They believe he experienced hypoxia, as the pilots of the fighter jets said they could only see one person on board. He appeared slouched over and unconscious.
Mexican authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard and the State Department are now in charge of the investigation.
The Cirrus SR-22 plane was registered to Abide Aviation LLC out of Edmond. The Coast Guard identified the pilot as Bill Kinsinger, 55, of Oklahoma City. He was a pilot for Pilot N Paws Mission, and was headed to rescue a husky.
"Ending a search is a difficult decision that we put the upmost 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."
The motor vessel Gas Wisdom responded to a Coast Guard request for vessels in the area to assist and searched Wednesday evening. The Mexican Naval Secretariat had two ships, the ARM Demacrato and the ARM Guanajuato, involved in the search.
The Coast Guard had air crews from Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Alabama assisting in the search.
INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center President Tim Johnsen released a statement Tuesday:
"It is with a heavy heart that I share with you this information. The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended the search for Dr. Bill Kinsinger and his plane. Crews from Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama and Mexico searched for almost 80 hours, scouring more than 17,000 nautical square miles of the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately they were unable to find Dr. Kinsinger or his plane. Sadly, it is presumed that he did not survive the impact when the plane went down. This is not the outcome anyone wanted. The circumstances of this tragedy leave us feeling shocked and heartbroken. We wanted so badly to find Dr. Kinsinger alive, or at the very least – find conclusive evidence that he did not survive so his family and friends could have some sense of closure. Perhaps that will come, in time. The support shown to his wife, Kerri, his children and our Women's Center and anesthesiology teams has been overwhelming. We have received an outpouring of messages and prayers from countless members of the community, many former patients of Dr. Kinsinger. There is no doubt, he was a kind and compassionate man. One who devoted his life to caring for people and pets alike. He may have only walked this earth for a short 55 years, but he made a lasting impact on everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him."
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