Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Small plane crashes into California homes, killing 3 people

Published:Wednesday | March 1, 2017 | 3:00 AM
Smoke rises from a fire after a plane crashed in Riverside, California, yesterday.

RIVERSIDE, California (AP):

Three people died and two were injured, one critically, when a small plane carrying them home from a cheerleading competition slammed into two Southern California homes and sparked a raging fire, authorities and witnesses said.

The twin-engine plane with five occupants had just taken off from Riverside Municipal Airport at 4:40 p.m. Monday intending to return to San Jose after the weekend Disneyland event when it crashed about a mile away in the residential neighborhood, Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore said.

One of the survivors was hospitalised with critical burns and the other was in stable condition, police Officer Ryan Railsback said yesterday. He said both were adult women recovering after undergoing surgery.

The remains of an adult woman were removed from the wreckage, which was still smoldering the morning after the crash, Railsback said.

The bodies of an adult man and a female teenager remained the site of the crash that destroyed two suburban houses and sent debris flying down the block of single-family homes. One of the plane's propellers landed on a rooftop.

"It's unrecognisable really as a plane," said Railsback, who added that it was "remarkable" no one on the ground was hurt.

One of the destroyed houses was empty at the time and a man escaped the neighboring home without suffering injuries. Nearly all of about 40 residents evacuated after the fiery crash returned home.

One of the survivors was thrown from a back seat of the plane but suffered only minor injuries, Moore said.