A WWII plane crash in Texas has claimed the lives of two men. The plane, a P-51 Mustang, was flown by 51-year-old pilot Keith Hibbett of Denton.
Hibbett was flying UK passenger John Stephen Busby in the aircraft. The one-time flight cost $2,000. Busby was given the flight by his wife to celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary.
The U.S. Coast Guard says the captain of a charter boat notified authorities of the crash between Chocolate Bay and Galveston Bay shortly before noon. The plane crashed into water believed to be around four feet deep.
The WWII plane was operated by Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston. The FAA says the pilot was not in contact with air traffic controllers when the crash occurred.
Speaking to KHOU-TV in Houston, Larry Gregory of the Lone Star Flight Museum revealed:
“This is by far one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through. Our pilot was like a brother to me. He’s taught me a lot about flying and everything else. And it’s just devastating.”
The WWII plane crash occurred with a plane that was built in 1944. The plane flew missions to support bombers during World War II.
According to the Lone Star Flight Museum website:
The P-51 is regarded by many as the most effective fighter aircraft produced during World War II. Known for its maneuverability, speed and range, the P-51 quickly made an impact over the skies of Germany by providing essential fighter escort to American bombers along their entire route. The LSFM P-51 Mustang is painted in the markings of Galveston Gal, an aircraft assigned to the 359th Fighter Group flown by Galveston native Ray Lancaster. This P-51 was converted to a two-seat, dual control TF-51 while serving in the El Salvadoran Air Force in the 1960s.
The Federal Aviation Administration is currently investigating the World War II plane crash.