HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WVUE) - The coroner of Hancock County, MS, said it could take several days before they know the identity of a man killed in a plane crash near Diamondhead.
The crash happened Friday around 7 a.m. with the plane going down just north of I-10. The plane flew for about 2,000 feet before it went down in the woods just north of the Diamondhead airport.
Responding Diamondhead firefighters didn't know whether it would be a private plane or a military plane at first since the crash site was between the Stennis military airport and the small Diamondhead air strip.
"Found a single-engine aircraft down and on fire," said Jerry Dubuisson with the Diamondhead Fire Department.
The plane, a Cessna 172, appeared to be carrying a lot of fuel. It burned for two-and-a-half hours before the coroner was able to remove the body of the victim inside. But the recovery efforts were also delayed by other factors.
"Initial efforts hampered because the plane clipped a power line and recovery crews were fearful of that," said Dubuisson.
The pilot is believed to be from the Diamondhead area, but authorities have not been able to make a positive identification due to the condition of the body.
Investigators don't yet know what caused the plane to go down. They said there were no reports of distress calls before the crash.
"I can confirm there were no maydays at either Gulfport or Stennis towers," said Dubuisson.
Authorities say that could be an indication that there were no engine problems, but the plane went down so close to the runway there may not have been enough time for the pilot to call for help.
Mississippi Emergency Management and the National Transportation Safety Board are heading up the investigation.
The Hancock County coroner said it could take several days for dental records to provide a positive identity of the victim.