The family of a business owner has tentatively identified him as the pilot who died in a plane crash near the Diamondhead Aiport on Friday.
The man has been identified as Premnathan "Prem" Naidoo, 69, a business owner and research & development chemist, who was a student pilot.
"The plane left the Diamondhead airport and came to the north side of I-10 and crashed in the wooded area," Diamondhead Fire Chief Jerry Dubuisson said Friday. "The plane apparently flipped one of the power lines and it wrapped around the airplane."
Senior Air Safety Investigator Brian Raynor with the National Transportation Safety Board said in a press conference on Saturday that the NTSB had launched a probe into the crash.
“Our understanding, in preliminary radar data, indicates that the gentlemen flying the airplane was doing practice traffic patterns at the Diamondhead airport,” Raynor said. “On what appears to be the fifth takeoff, the airplane crashed in the woods on the north side of the interstate just beyond the departure of the runway at Diamondhead. The airplane was destroyed and the student pilot was fatally injured.”
Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said Monday that investigators cannot legally identify the pilot of the crashed Cessna 172 until an odontologist finishes his work.
Faulk said authorities were "99.9 percent sure" of the man's identity, but said authorities cannot yet publicize his name until the dental records are thoroughly examined.
Naidoo was the founder of Asphalt & Wax Innovation, LLC. According to the company's website, it "commenced operations in April 2006 under the ownership of Prem Naidoo who retired from 30 years service with Shell International and 10 years service with Sasol International as Research & Development Chemist. AWI performs research and development, quality control, and consultation for all aspects of the roofing and paving industries.
"Green Asphalt Technologies, LLC (GAT) was registered and started operations in September 2008 and is operated by (Prem's son) Terry Naidoo. GAT has a mission to develop eco-friendly solutions to enhance and benefit the asphalt industry as a whole. Specifically, GAT focus is on the responsible usage of recycled asphalt pavements and shingles going into the asphalt pavements of today."
Both companies operate primarily in the research and technology development field, forging relationships with other suitable companies for sales, marketing, and commercialization, according to the website.
Faulk said that authorities should be able to officially release the name of the victim by some time on Tuesday.