Officials say pilot dead after small plane crashes near Alaska high school

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska State Troopers say a small plane crashed and caught on fire Thursday near an Alaska high school, killing the pilot.

Troopers say 23-year-old Joe Mielke of Big Lake was the only person on board the small plane when it went down about 1 mile from Houston High School north of Anchorage. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says family and friends at the scene identified the pilot.

Peters says the fiery crash was reported about 1:45 p.m.

Ken Barkley, deputy director of emergency services for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, tells Anchorage television station KTUU ( the witness who reported the crash saw the single-engine plane go down on Hawk Lane.

Barkley says responding firefighters found the plane fully engulfed in flames.

A trooper at the scene tells KTUU that Mielke was flying a Cessna 150.

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