RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — One of two survivors of a deadly plane crash in Riverside suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of her body, authorities said Tuesday.
Both adult women were listed in critical condition, according to Riverside Fire Capt. Tyler Reynolds.
Dave Swinfard said he was in his living room doing a crossword puzzle with his cat on his lap Monday afternoon when a twin-engine plane slammed into his house in the 6400 block of Rhonda Road, about a half-mile northeast of Riverside Municipal Airport.
“I was just sitting there, and all of a sudden, boom! When I look up, that front area had crashed in. It came in. Next thing. Flames were shooting out,” he recalled. “If it would have been 15 feet over, it would have landed on me.”
On Tuesday, the NTSB removed the charred wreckage from the site. It is expected to take months before investigators can determine the cause of the crash.
“It’s like right out of a movie. You don’t imagine seeing anything like this in your life time,” neighbor Traci Zamora said.
No one on the ground was hurt. But the fiery crash damaged four homes, two of which were red-tagged, according to firefighters.
All five victims were on the Cessna 310. The three people killed were a teenage girl, a man and a woman.
The group was returning home to San Jose after attending a cheerleading competition at Disneyland.
At a news conferenece Tuesday, city officials tried to reassure people living near the airport that they were safe.
“I know that all the flight paths are followed properly. I’m actually a licensed pilot. An incident like is something that is unforseen,” Riverside City Councilman Mike Soubirous said.
But those who witnessed the plane plunging into the house were not convinced.
“This is the second one in the last year that has happened. There’s another plane that crashed into a home about a mile from here,” Zamora said.
The victims’ names have not been released. But the two survivors were believed to be in their late 30s to early 40s.
One was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton and underwent surgery. The other was rushed to Riverside Community Hospital for treatment.
The plane clipped power lines as it went down. An entire block of about 40 homes was evacuated.
Mark and Lori Scheck and their three children live in the house that took the direct impact.
“The two kids’ rooms are destroyed. The only thing actually livable is the garage and kitchen,” Mark said.
They were not home when the plane crashed. But Mark could have been. “He was at work when he wasn’t supposed to be. So thankfully, he did go into work, and he wasn’t here,” Lori said.
Now, the family has no place to live. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help them.
Bill Nye, 85, lives behind the houses that were destroyed and damaged. He was with his wife, Gladys, at the time of the crash.
“God sends his angel to protect you because it could’ve been another 50 feet and would’ve been us instead,” Gladys said.
George Ashley had eight security cameras rolling during impact. Investigators will look at the footage to help determine the cause of the crash.
“It dropped like a rock. Nothing going to happen except hit the ground,” Ashley recalled.