Authorities have found what appears to be pieces of a missing plane on a Mississippi beach.

Department of Marine Resources spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said the department's Marine Patrol started finding "small pieces" sometime after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. The private plane, which was reportedly carrying three people, lost radar contact before 1 p.m. on Monday.

The debris, which appears to include a piece with part of the plane's registration number, washed up on Belle Fontaine Beach, about 15 miles west of where the search was originally concentrated off Pascagoula.

Scallan says the Marine Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and Jackson County Sheriff's Office are conducting a joint search in the Mississippi Sound.

The single-engine plane was last seen when it stopped for fuel at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport on Monday, taking off for South Carolina about 12:30 p.m.

Peter Mastroianni runs the airport's Million Air terminal, used by private, corporate and military planes. He told The Associated Press that the private plane was not a tenant at the airport.