Lake Little, the daughter of Starkville, Miss., Alderman David Little and his wife Pattie, succumbed late Saturday to her injuries from the 3:15 p.m. crash on the Ole Miss Golf Course, University of Mississippi spokesman Rod Guajardo said Sunday.
The teenager, who dreamed of becoming a professional pilot, was practicing takeoffs and landings in a single-engine plane at the nearby University-Oxford Airport when she crashed near the course’s 17th tee box, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
She was the only person on board and suffered serious burns in the crash, Guajardo said.
“Such sad news about Lake Little. A beautiful light has passed from this world far too soon,” tweeted Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.
Little was set to compete this month in Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality pageant. The winner of the competitions spends a year promoting tourism to the state.
“Lake had a vibrant personality. She was full of life and lived it to the fullest,” Starkville Miss Hospitality director Angella Baker told the paper. “She was very passionate about flying and had just recently received her private pilots license.”
According to her Miss Hospitality profile, Little aspired to eventually fly for FedEx.
A star student, she graduated in May from Starkville Academy, where she received numerous academic honors and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
She planned to study speech pathology and audiology at the University of Southern Mississippi and wanted to open her own clinic to help children and the elderly while maintaining an aviation career.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.