Lubbock pilot answers call for help in search for missing infant

Lubbock pilot answers call for help in search for missing infant

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

John Kimmel is no stranger to flying in high stress situations having flown for the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the National Park Service.

"My whole aviation career has been in law enforcement so finding people that are lost and or hiding is what I've done all these year," Kimmel said. "It's what I was trained to do."

Kimmel, now a pilot for-hire, was at home Sunday evening when he learned of an infant missing after a boat wreck on Buffalo Springs Lake. The next morning he decided he needed to help.

"I was just putting myself in the mother's place having just lost her child, not knowing what's going on and just hoping that we could help," he said. "I know what a difference an air asset can make. We can see a lot more from the air than the guys on the surface of the water can see so I was just hoping that our ability to do that and maybe my experience having done it before might be beneficial to the search."

He and a small crew flew all Monday scanning the water for any traces of the child but did not have any luck. 

Tuesday morning he resumed.

"We made our first pass around the lake and then we began our grid search. We covered the entire search area with no luck. We landed in the parking lot to talk with the guys on the ground just to let them know we were going to go back to the airport and refuel, take a little break and come back. As we lifted off to come back to the airport that's when we spotted the baby in the water."

"It makes it so much more difficult when it's a child but you want to find him, end the mission, give closure to the family. Just get things taken care of."

While it did not end as the way anyone wanted, he said the willingness by everyone to reach out and help is amazing.

"Everybody was just so willing to help. It was awesome."

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