In a P-51 crash on Wednesday, a vintage aircraft went down over the gulf of Mexico killing the two people who were in the plane. The World War II plane was owned by the Lone Star Flight Museum.
The P-51 plane, which was fondly nicknamed the “Galveston Gal” due to its age, was used as a commercial aircraft to offer rides to people who want a flying experience.
Steve Lehmann, Petty Officer for the U.S. Coast Guard, said that the captain of a chartered fishing boat contacted the Coast Guard at 11:40 am to report that he has just seen a plane go down somewhere between Chocolate and Galveston Bay.
A small boat and a helicopter were dispatched to deal with the emergency, and a volunteer rescue group searched the area until they discovered the debris of the P-51 crash in 5 feet of water. Both the pilot and his passenger were found dead.
The P-51 plane was built in 1944 and was converted to a two-seat training aircraft while it was being used by the El Salvadoran Air Force back in the 1960’s. In recent years the plane got a paint job and the trademark “Galveston Gal” was put on it. A joy-flight costs around $2,000 a time.
Bill Roach who owns the Wings Over Houston which operates the planes said:
“My heart and the hearts of the Commemorative Air Force, our air show staff and many others are heavy. We are a brotherhood and sisterhood of people who are passionate about preserving aviation history and honoring our veterans who served our country. And we are united in our desire to share this passion with our others through museums, air shows and other events throughout the United States.”
It remains to be seen what happened to the P-51, as investigators try to piece together the evidence to establish the cause of the fatal crash.