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Pilot, three teens in Silver City crash identified

Peter Hochla, 67.

Peter Hochla, 67.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The pilot killed in a Silver City-area plane crash Friday was an Albuquerque psychologist who had spent years of his retirement flying to clinics around the state to see patients, according to a family member.

Peter Hochla, 67, was identified by a family member as the pilot killed in the crash that also took the lives of three teenagers when the plane attempted to land at Whiskey Creek Airport near Silver City.

Michael Mahl, 16, Ella Myers, 16, and Ella Kirk, 14, were identified by Aldo Leopold Charter School — the small school they all attended — as the three teens killed.

The group had gone to look at the Signal Fire, a wildfire that started in the Gila National Forest about two weeks ago, before the plane crashed near a trailer park east of Silver City. Brian Myers, Ella Myers’ dad, said they had done an older eco-monitoring project in that area, and were going to collect new data on the flight, which he said was planned last minute. It was not school-sponsored.

Hochla was in Silver City on Friday to see patients, but his family member said she didn’t know anything about the fire-related flight.

Ella Kirk, 16, (left), Michael Mahl, 16, (center) and Ella Myers, 16, were killed in a plane crash near Silver City Friday.

Ella Kirk, 16, (left), Michael Mahl, 16, (center) and Ella Myers, 16, were killed in a plane crash near Silver City Friday.

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