RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) – At least three people were killed after a small plane smashed into a home in Riverside late Monday afternoon, sparking a three-alarm fire.
The plane carrying a family of five — two adults and three teens — crashed moments after takeoff into a home in the 6000 block of Rhonda Road before 4:41 p.m., Riverside Fire Department Chief Michael Moore said. Neighbors reported hearing an explosion and firefighters arrived to find the home engulfed in flames. Two homes were destroyed in the fire and a third sustained damage from the crash and ensuing fire. Even the plane’s propeller was severed and fell onto a house. The debris field extended a half-mile.
Three people aboard the plane were killed. Two of the passengers survived, Moore confirmed to CBS2 Monday night. The survivors were a woman and a teen girl. Moore had initially reported that four of the five passengers were killed, but later corrected that number to three.
As of late Monday night, firefighters were still searching the wreckage for possible victims but did not believe anyone on the ground was killed or injured. As of 11 p.m., firefighters were also still trying to knock down hot spots in the homes.
“I’ve seen one of the ladies who was on the plane coming out of the house trying to get out, and people rushing over to help her,” neighbor Bella Aguelar said. “I saw one other person get pulled out, and they were alive, but they were burned.”
The crashed plane was a Cessna 310, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed. It was headed from Riverside Municipal Airport to San Jose. The crash occurred about a half-mile northeast of the airport. The family, who were from San Jose, were headed home after attending a cheer competition in Anaheim.
“I saw somebody crawling out of the house, on the ground, on fire,” neighbor Traci Zamora said. “And I started screaming, ‘put her out, put her out.'”
Neighbor Ernesto Torres heard the explosion and ran with other Good Samaritans to the crash site to help.
“We ran up to the house, it was on fire,” Torres said. “There was a lady, she was on fire. We helped pull her out of the flame.”
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were on scene to investigate the cause of the crash. Riverside police had cordoned off a block around the home. Neighbors were being told to stay inside their homes Monday night.