Published October 23, 2013
A World War II-era P-51 Mustang airplane owned by a Texas museum crashed in shallow water near Galveston on Wednesday, killing the two people on board, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Petty Officer Steve Lehmann said the captain of a charter boat notified authorities after seeing the vintage P-51 Mustang crash in an area between Chocolate Bay and Galveston Bay.
He said the plane went down about 11:40 a.m. Wednesday in water some four feet deep. Emergency crews recovered the bodies after combing over Chocolate Bay for about an hour, KHOU.com reported.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the plane was operated by the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston. He says the pilot was not in contact with air-traffic controllers when it crashed.
Jennifer Spaulding told KHOU.com she was on another boat and she heard the impact of the crash.
"We saw the water spraying up in the air, but we never saw what it was," Spaulding said. "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."
The plane, dubbed the "Galveston Gal," was manufactured in 1944 and converted to a two-seat, dual control TF-51 while serving in the El Salvadoran Air Force in the 1960s, according to the museum's website.
Investigators with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.