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WWII Plane Crash Kills 2; Vintage P-51 Mustang Goes Down in Texas

Image: WWII Plane Crash Kills 2; Vintage P-51 Mustang Goes Down in Texas

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 08:57 AM

By Michael Mullins

A WWII plane crashed near Galveston on Wednesday, killing two on board. The vintage P-51 Mustang belonged to a Texas museum.

The P-51 Mustang was recovered in shallow water just 4-feet deep between Chocolate Bay and Galveston Bay by the Coast Guard. According to Petty Officer Steve Lehmann, a charter boat captain in the area was first to call the plane crash in, Fox News reported.

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The bodies were recovered within an hour of the plane's discovery after emergency crews combed Chocolate Bay, KHOU.com reported. The deceased have yet to be identified.

Galveston's Lone Star Flight Museum owned the plane, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford. Lunsford added that the pilot was not in contact with air-traffic controllers when the plane crashed.

The plane is believed to have crashed at approximately 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday.

One of those who was in the area when the plane crashed was Jennifer Spaulding.

"We saw the water spraying up in the air, but we never saw what it was," Spaulding told KHOU.com. "We never saw a plane go down or anything, so we didn’t think anything like a plane. We just figured it was a boat."

FAA and National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating what caused the crash.

The P-51 Mustang involved in the crash was known as "Galveston Gal," and was produced in 1944. It flew in several missions above Germany during the war, according to the Lone Star Flight Museum's website.

"Our thoughts and prayers are now with the families of the pilot and passenger who were on board," the museum said in an online statement released Wednesday. "All flight operations are suspended until we learn more about this unfortunate and tragic accident."

The museum added that it is fully cooperating with the FAA in their investigation of the apparent accident.

In the 1960's, the "Galveston Gal" was sold to the El Salvadoran Air Force and was subsequently converted into a two-seater before winding up in Texas at the flight museum.

P-51 Mustangs were long-range, single-seat fighter planes deployed throughout WWII and the Korean War that were capable of reaching an altitude of up to 15,000 feet and speeds of more than 430 mph, making it a deadly adversary to the German's Luftwaffe fighters over Europe.

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