WWII P-51 Mustang crashes in Colorado, killing 2

A vintage World War II fighter plane built in 1944 crashed Friday shortly after taking off in Durango, Colo., killing the two people aboard, authorities said.

The victims’ identities have not been released.

Dan Bender, spokesman for the La Plata County Sheriff’s Department, told the Los Angeles Times that the plane was “catastrophically destroyed upon impact on the ground.”

Bender said two federal inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the scene to investigate and determine the cause of the crash.

The plane took off from the Durango-La Plata County Airport, but lost altitude soon after. It initially slammed into a country road right outside the airport’s fenced boundary, and then made a second impact another 200 feet away in a meadow, Bender said.

The local sheriff’s office and fire department received a call from the airport about the crash a little before 9:30 Friday morning, he said.

The accident involved a P-51 Mustang aircraft that was registered to a Durango business called Bridgewood Holdings LLC, according to the Federal Aviation Administration registry.

Before Friday’s crash, there were only 123 P-51 Mustangs in the United States, according to the Federal Aviation Administration registry.

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