NTSB Investigator Offers Little New Information on Saturday’s Plane Crash

By Anna Grace Usery

Air Safety Investigator for the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) Ed Malinowski offered little insight into the cause of Saturday’s plane crash at the Ole Miss Golf Course, but said investigators will be finished with their on-site investigation “in a day or two.” Malinowski and University Police Chief Ray Hawkins addressed the media Monday, July 8 at the Ole Miss Golf Course clubhouse.

The plane wreckage sits in a grouping of trees near the 17th hole of the Ole Miss Golf Course. Photo by Anna Grace Usery.

The airplane, which crashed close to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, July 6, was piloted by Lake Little, 18, of Starkville. Malinowski confirmed the aircraft, a Cessna 172-Skyhawk single-engine plane, left the Golden Triangle Regional Airport en route to the University-Oxford Airport on a round trip student flight. It crash-landed at the No. 17 hole on the golf course.

Lake Little, 18, died Saturday from injuries sustained from a plane crash at the Ole Miss Golf Course. Photo via Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition’s Facebook page.

Hawkins said Little was airlifted to Memphis where she “succumbed to her injuries.”

“Three main things we’ll be looking at are the pilot, the aircraft and the airplane,” Malinowski said about the current investigation. “The wreckage has certain impact marks and we’re able to tell the control cables within the fire, and we can tell if they were connected or not. That will tell us if there’s control continuity.”

“Initial statements were that the aircraft was climbing up, made a turn, was slow, descended and impacted terrain,” he said.

Malinowski said requests are being made to the Civil Air Control (CAP) for the pilot’s flight history, and to air traffic control for radar and communications.

He acknowledges there were witnesses to the crash, but said he has not been able to review their witness statements yet.

Once the on-site investigation concludes, the CAP will remove and transport the wreckage to a recovery site. The wreckage’s location will be determined by the CAP and has not been made available.

He could not confirm if the flight was a touch-and-go, meaning the pilot was landing and taking off at the same time – a movement often made by those seeking to obtain a pilot’s license.

According to the Cessna website, the Cessna Skyhawk is the most popular single engine aircraft ever built and the “ultimate flight training aircraft” for student pilots.

Malinowski said the preliminary report will be made available in a week.

“My final report can take anywhere from six months to a year,” he said.

Hawkins offered his condolences to the Little family and praised the Oxford Police Department, Oxford Fire Department and Oxford Emergency Management for their quick response.

Little is the youngest daughter of Starkville Alderman David Little. She had a passion for flying and had aspirations to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. 

This is a deloping story. Stay tuned to Hottytoddy.com for more updates.


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