HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Waveland family is mourning the loss of a loved one. The wreckage of a single-engine plane was found by hunters around six o'clock Monday morning in a wooded area Highway 607 in the NASA buffer zone.
Authorities say the pilot was 44-year-old Frank James Letellier, known to his friends and family as "Breezy."
Investigators believe he was returning from a weekend trip to Destin, Florida Sunday night when his plane went down.
The wreckage of the small single engine plane created a large debris field. Pieces lodged in trees and scattered all over the ground.
"We have a wreckage path of a pretty long distance. I believe it's about 200 feet at this time we're still collecting evidence and until we look at all the evidence then we can give a better determination of what might have happened," said Eric Alleyne, and investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Whatever happened, his friends don't believe it was a pilot's error. They say Letellier was an extremely skilled pilot.
"Probably one of the best natural pilots. He used to ride his bike out to Stennis. He could fly before he could drive legally," said the victim's friend Kevin McGreevy.
"He had probably 25 plus years of flying, might be over 30 years," said Sean Logan, another friend of Letellier's.
Logan often flew aboard Letellier's plane.
"Breezy, he's one of those guys who would give you the shirt off of his back. He was one of the nice people I knew. He flew all over the place, had a lot of experience. It's kind of crazy that this happened. Obviously, it must have been bad winds or something because this wouldn't have happened to Breezy. He's a great guy," Logan said.
"Anybody who needed something, Breezy was always there," McGreevy said. "You had a sick kid or a sick relative; he wouldn't think twice jumping in the airplane and going, take you wherever you needed. A lot of people are going to miss him very much."
Letellier worked as a computer programmer at one of the agencies at Stennis Space Center. He's the brother of well known Waveland Pharmacist Rudy Letellier.