A WWII-era plane crashed in Texas near Galveston on Wednesday, killing both people aboard. The US Coast Guard announced the crash, saying that the P-51 Mustang went down in shallow water.
The vintage plane, owned by a Texas museum, went down around 11:40 am on Wednesday in about four feet of water. Petty Officer Steve Lehmann explained that the captain of a charter boat first notified authorities of the accident.
Fox News reports that Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford explained that the WWII plane was operated by the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, and the pilot wasn’t in contact with air traffic controllers at the time of the accident.
Emergency crews recovered two bodies from the wreckage after they flew over Chocolate Bay for about an hour. Keith Hibbett, 51, was identified as the plane’s pilot, while John Stephen Busby, 66, was the plane’s only passenger, notes Yahoo! News.
The WWII-era plane was manufactured in 1944, according to FAA records, and was used by the El Salvadoran Air Force in the 1960s, during which time it was modified to carry two people. The P-51 Mustang was owned by the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, part of the museum in Galveston.
Museum officials stated that Hibbett was an experienced pilot, and witnesses to the plane crash said that the aircraft went down without any warning or signs of trouble. The museum’s website noted that it offered rides in the airplane for $1,995 for one passenger, and Busby, from the United Kingdom, paid the museum to take the flight as part of the program.
Busby and his wife were in the United States to celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary, according to officials. While the P-51 Mustang was once owned by El Salvador’s military, it was painted with the markings of the Galveston Gal in a tribute to the WWII fighter group of a Galveston native.
The FAA has an ongoing investigation into the crash of the WWII plane.
[Image by Mike Freer via Wikimedia Commons]