HOUSTON — A Big Lake man is dead after a plane crash in Houston Thursday afternoon.
Alaska State Troopers confirmed the death of the pilot of a single-engine plane that crashed near the curve where Hawk Lane turns into North Victor Road at about 1:39 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said family members at the scene identified the pilot as Joseph "Joe" Mielke, 23, of Big Lake. However, she said the State Medical Examiner's Office would have to positively confirm the pilot's identity.
According to the FAA's online registry, the plane was a Cessna 150F built in 1965 and registered to Joseph T. Mielke.
Glenn Stevens, EMS chief for the Mat-Su Borough, said authorities received a 911 call at 1:39 p.m. that a plane was on fire in the middle of the road. The location is about a mile from Houston High School.
Stevens said an ambulance was nearby, but it was too late to help the pilot as the plane was engulfed in flames.
“They were on scene in just a couple of minutes,” he said.
Stevens said the FAA and NTSB had been notified and would likely assist state troopers with the investigation.
Peters said initial witness reports indicated the plane crashed shortly after take-off.
"They think it stalled," she said.
After the flames were extinguished, the green and white plane was covered with a large red tarp. Stevens said the road would likely be shut down for several hours while the investigation proceeds.
“It’s also a stark reminder of general aviation in Alaska and how much of it there really is and how careful people need to be,” he said.
He added that anytime someone is lost under tragic circumstances it can have a big impact on people in a small town like Houston-Big Lake.
"It can have a profound effect on the community," he said.
This is a developing story; check back for details.