Colleagues of a missing pilot who was volunteering for a pet rescue operation have completed the mission in his honor.
Dr. Bill Kinsinger, 55, left an Oklahoma City airport on Wednesday bound for Texas to pick up a disabled dog who had been scheduled for euthanasia at an animal shelter. His plane veered off course, into the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward the Yucatán Peninsula.
His plane was last seen on radar more than 200 miles northwest of Cancun, where he probably ran out of gas, the Associated Press reports.
The Coast Guard was still searching Friday for the pilot, focused on an area about 118 nautical miles north of the Yucatán Peninsula.
Fellow volunteers with Pilots N Paws made the trip Thursday, transporting an ailing 11-year-old male husky named Masaruto to his temporary home in Oklahoma. From there, the dog will be taken to Las Vegas for medical care.
Kinsinger’s fellow volunteers told KOKH-TV on Thursday that the missing doctor would have wanted the rescue to go ahead.
Kate Quinn, executive director of Pilots N Paws, told the Huffington Post that Kinsinger has been involved with the group since 2014, when he his brother died.
“He’s an incredibly active PNP pilot often flying a mission each week,” she said, adding that he also has fostered dogs in his own home when they needed temporary places to stay.
“Rescuing animals is Bill’s passion,” Quinn said. “He’s always very upbeat and positive. Very empathetic to everyone he volunteered with, encouraging us to ‘save some more.’”