(Photo by Bruce Newman, Oxford Eagle/AP)
Lake Little of Starkville, Miss. died from her injuries and burns after the single-engine plane she was piloting crashed on July 6 near a tee box of the 17th hole of the University of Mississippi course in Oxford, Miss. Little was the only person on the plane and no one on the ground was hurt.
An 18-year-old pilot of a single-engine plane died on July 6 after crashing that day near a tee box of the 17th hole of the Ole Miss Golf Course in Oxford, Miss., USA Today reported. The pilot, Lake Little of Starkville, Miss., was practicing “touch and go” takeoffs and landings at a small nearby airport owned by the University of Mississippi, USA Today reported, when the plane suddenly “just fell straight down into the trees,” according to one witness who was on the course at the time.
No one on the ground at the course was injured because of the crash, it was reported.
University of Mississippi spokesman Rod Guajardo said on July 7 that Little had died late the night before of injuries from the crash that happened hours earlier on the Ole Miss course near the University-Oxford Airport, USA Today reported.
Little was the daughter of Starkville Alderman David Little and his wife Pattie, and a 2019 graduate of Starkville Academy. The Starkville Daily News reported that she was set to compete later in July in Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality pageant. The winner of the pageant spends a year promoting tourism.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that according to her Miss Hospitality profile, Little aspired to eventually fly for FedEx. She was planning to study speech pathology and audiology at the University of Southern Mississippi and wanted to open her own speech pathology clinic to help children and the elderly while maintaining an aviation career.
Brian Scott Rippee told the Oxford Eagle that he was near the ninth hole of the course when he saw the plane abort a landing and struggle to pull up.
“Then when we were walking off the green, [the plane] just fell straight down into the trees,” Rippee said. “It was just like one big pop.”
Rippee then saw flames cover the cockpit with the pilot still inside. Golfers on the course at the time tried to help, he said, “but the fire got too big and they kind of had to back up. So, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do.
“Paramedics and firemen got there pretty quickly and put it out and airlifted her,” Rippee added. But Little, the only person in the plane, succumbed to her injuries and burns a few hours later.
Regular golfers at Ole Miss GC who were interviewed by various media outlets about the crash said they were used to hearing and seeing planes leave from the nearby airport, but they never expected the course to become a place for an emergency crash landing.
“You just never think about that when you’re playing golf out here, that actually something like that might occur,” said DA Magee, golfer.
“She must have been getting pretty close to the runway, which was just up over the hill,” Magee added. “But obviously [she] was looking for the best alternative,” said Magee.