PONCA CITY, Okla. -- Bill Kinsinger was planning to fly dogs in need from Texas to Denver, after taking off from the Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City.
The 55-year-old father ans anesthesiologist began working with Pilots N Paws to honor his brother, who passed away four years ago.
"Bill decided if he took up flying he would start to do this in Tim's name, to honor Tim. So twice a week he picked up dogs and took them all over this part of the country," Bill's mother Ann Kinsinger said.
The FAA said the plane veered off course near the Gulf of Mexico. Multiple jets with the North American Aerospace Defense Command were able to find the plane in the air, but were not able to get Kinsinger's attention on Wednesday. Bill's mother said the family believes his Cirrus SR-22 ran out of fuel about 200 miles from Cancun.
"He was such a good pilot and he was so careful about what he did. He loved what he was doing, it was a passion for him. So after so long I stopped worrying. I wasn't even thinking about it anymore," Kinsinger said.
The Coast Guard is now swapping out crews through Florida to keep watch over the year. The Eight District Command Center believes Kinsinger was likely unconscious due to hypoxia, which happens when the body does not have enough oxygen. His loved ones hope other pilots continue with Bill's mission.
"I hope it opens people's eyes to the need for homeless animals to have real homes and not be left out in the cold. I shudder to think of all the animals out in the frigid days we're having where they don't have shelter that they need," Kinsinger said.
The family said they're staying in positive spirits. Right now they're unsure if Bill fell asleep, or if he was flying at too high of an altitude.