Denton County Pilot Killed in Crash of WWII-Era Plane

Plane was scheduled to fly in an air show this weekend.

Thursday, Oct 24, 2013  |  Updated 6:54 AM CDT
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A Denton County pilot and a customer died in the crash of a vintage plane near Galveston on Wednesday.

Eric King, NBC 5 News

A Denton County pilot and a customer died in the crash of a vintage plane near Galveston on Wednesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard said two people were killed when their World War II-era plane went down in shallow water near Galveston on Wednesday.

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 at about 11:40 a.m. in water some four feet deep.

The pilot of the Galveston Gal has been identified as Keith Hibbett, 51, of Shady Shores. The passenger, John Busby, 66, of England, was a tourist who had paid to ride in the World War II-era plane, KPRC-TV in Houston reports.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the plane was operated by the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston. The pilot was not in contact with air-traffic controllers when it crashed.

Investigators with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were on the way to the scene of the wreck. The NTSB will lead the investigation.

Wings Over Houston told KPRC that the plane was scheduled to fly in an air show this weekend.

Hibbett's wife was not available for comment Wednesday evening. Neighbors Barry and Gina Kemna said she is surrounded by family members.

The Kemnas said Hibbett was an experienced pilot for FedEx who regularly donated his time and talents to wounded veterans and disabled children.

"He was just a good servant for the Lord," Gina Kemna said. "He loved God. He loved life and his family."

"We're going to miss him," Barry Kemna said. "He was a great neighbor. Everyone in the community really respected him."

Hibbett is survived by his wife, three children and two grandchildren.

NBC 5's Eric King contributed to this report.

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