PORTLAND (AP) – A British pilot who had a historic World War II plane rebuilt in Maine last year has crashed the aircraft in the Caribbean Sea.

Maurice Kirk, a 62-year-old retired veterinarian, was in Maine last spring to have work done on “Liberty Girl,” a plane he said General George Patton flew over France to survey battlefields below.

According to the Coast Guard, Kirk was flying solo when he issued a distress call on Saturday before crashing about 75 miles north of the Dominican Republic. A Coast Guard helicopter found Kirk in the water by tracking an emergency radio beacon he had.

Kirk previously crashed the small plane – it’s only 22 feet long – on a city street in Japan in 2005 before bringing it to Maine for repairs.

AP-ES-02-19-08 1050EST

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