WWI Plane Crash Near Galveston, TexasBy: Nanette Haz - October 26, 2013
On Wednesday The Lone Star Flight Museum was operating a P-51 Mustang airplane that crashed into a shallow body of water near Galveston. “Galveston Gal”, the vintage-P51 Mustang is from the WWII era the pilot was a museum employee and former Military service member named Keith Hibbett. He resided in Denton, Texas and was 51 years old. The passenger John Stephen Busby was visiting from the United Kingdom. The flight on the Galveston Gal was a $2,000 gift from his wife. They both were in Galveston celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary.
The coast guard reported that both the pilot and the passenger were killed. A charter boat captain saw and reported the crash to Petty Officer Steve Lehmann while in the middle of Chocolate Bay and Galveston Bay. The water in the area the plane went down was a shallow four feet in depth. Emergency workers looked through Chocolate Bay for an hour until they recovered the bodies.
Lynn Lunsford a Federal Avialtion Administration spokesman stated the plane was in operation by the Lone Star Flight Museum. There was no contact at all with the pilot and air traffic control at the time of the crash.
Jennifer Spalding was interviewed by KHOU and stated she heard the impact of the plane while riding on a nearby boat.
“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 National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are actively investigating the reason the plane crashed.
The TF-51 plane was made in 1944 was converted to accommodate passenger trips. The Galveston Gal served with the El Salvadoran Air Force throughout the 1960’s. Investigators with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
Image via Twitter