DALLAS — The Latest on a small airplane that went missing over the Gulf of Mexico (all times local):
A dog rescue group says the pilot of a small plane that disappeared over the Gulf of Mexico was flying to Central Texas to collect a disabled dog and deliver it to a foster home in Oklahoma.
Coast Guard spokeswoman Lexie Preston on Thursday identified the pilot as Dr. Bill Kinsinger.
The executive director of the Oklahoma Medical Board, Lyle Kelsey, says Kinsinger serves on the board and lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. Kinsinger is an anesthesiologist.
Monica Marshall coordinates flights for the nonprofit group Pilots N Paws and says she was tracking Kinsinger’s plane Wednesday when radar showed it veered off course by hundreds of miles.
Marshall says she has been unable to reach him by text and phone.
She says Kinsinger didn’t collect the disabled dog in suburban Austin, Texas.
Officials say the pilot of a small plane that stopped responding to air traffic controllers and disappeared over the Gulf of Mexico was unresponsive and may have been suffering from a lack of oxygen.
The plane took off from Oklahoma City on Wednesday afternoon and was supposed to land in Georgetown, Texas, but kept going. A spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, says two F-16 fighters were launched from a base in Houston to make contact with the plane Wednesday.
NORAD says the fighters flew in front of the plane, dropped flares and performed other military maneuvers in an effort to gain the pilot’s attention, but the pilot appeared to be unresponsive. NORAD says the pilot was the only person on board the plane.
The Eighth Coast Guard District, referencing the NORAD report, says the pilot appeared to be suffering from hypoxia, in which the brain is deprived of adequate oxygen. The condition can cause confusion, nausea, breathlessness and hallucinations.
The search for the aircraft is ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching the Gulf of Mexico for a small plane that didn’t land at its scheduled location in Central Texas and stopped responding to air traffic controllers.
The Cirrus SR-22 took off Wednesday afternoon from a small airport in Oklahoma City after filing a flight plan to land in Georgetown, Texas, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Austin.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the plane kept flying and was last observed on radar 219 miles (352 kilometers) northwest of Cancun flying at 15,000 feet (4,600 meters).
The plane is registered to Oklahoma-based Abide Aviation.