2 dead after P-51 Mustang, a WWII plane, crashes after take-off from Durango-La Plata County Airport

LA PLATA COUNTY, Colol - An historic World War II-era plane crashed after taking off from the Durango-La Plata County Airport Friday morning.

The P-51 became airborne, then crashed a short distance away on County Road 309A, according to Durango Fire Protect District fire marshal Karola Hanks. The crash happened north of the airport at 9:29 a.m.

Hanks told 7NEWS there were no survivors.

Incident commander, battalion chief Randy Black, said it's believed that two people were on board.

Airport operations were not affected by the crash.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were called to determine the cause of the crash. County Road 309A will be closed indefinitely due to road damage and the crash investigation, according to Black.

While the pilot has not been identified, Hanks said the owner of the plane is well known in the community.

A story about the plane in the Durango Herald said only 123 P-51 Mustangs remain in the United States out of the more than 15,000 that were manufactured.

"This is an iconic airplane that is generally maintained with an awful lot of care," said aviation security consultant Steve Cowell.  “Every airplane is inspected for airworthiness at least every year.  An airplane like this probably had some of the most meticulous maintenance performed on it throughout its entire history,” said Cowell.

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