3 killed, 2 hurt when San Jose bound plane crashes in SoCal

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KTVU) -- Three people were killed and at least two people were injured when a small plane en route to San Jose crashed into two homes Monday evening in Riverside shortly after taking off, authorities said.

Authorities had originally said four people died but they said later that only three people perished during the incident and two people were hurt during the crash, which left a fiery wreckage that destroyed two homes and damaged two others, officials said. Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore said Monday night that there were no injuries from people who may have been inside the homes, and everyone who might have been inside the residences have been accounted for. 

During a press conference, Moore said a family of five from San Jose were on the plane and had traveled to Southern California to attend a cheerleading camp at Disneyland before the incident occurred.

Authorities said one person on the plane survived the crash but was rushed for medical treatment to a local hospital.

The Cessna 310 aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Riverside Municipal Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The plane was headed for Mineta San Jose International Airport when it crashed about a half-mile northeast of the Riverside airport, Gregor said.

Authorities said they were investigating to determine if weather played a factor in the crash since it had been raining in the area before the plane went down.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, Gregor said.

The plane came down into a residential neighborhood and collided with two homes, Riverside Police Lt. Charles Payne said. 


At least one of the homes was engulfed in flames and nearly destroyed. The plane's propeller appeared to be left sitting on the roof of a nearby home.

Three witnesses told TV stations that a woman crawled from one of the houses with her clothes on fire, saying as neighbors helped her that she was the pilot and that more people were inside. 

Shannon Flores, a teacher at an elementary school about three blocks away, said she saw the plane out her classroom window shortly before 5 p.m.  She said it was raining during the crash. 

"As soon as we saw it fly over, we knew it wasn't a good thing," Flores told KABC-TV. "We watched it go down very quickly .... Before we knew it, there was a loud crash and huge plumes of smoke."

H.L. Reyes, who lives about a quarter-mile from the crash site, said she felt the ground shake and saw plumes of black smoke. 

"I thought it was a possible earthquake, and we heard all the birds just suddenly react outside, too," Reyes said.  "Every time an engine sputters, I'm afraid ... This was just like a nightmare coming true."

Residents of nearby homes were evacuated from the area and taken to a local community center, Payne said.  

Firefighters were still putting out hotspots from the ferocious fire nearly two hours after the crash. 

The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.