Two women remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday while federal and local authorities continued their investigation into what caused a twin-engine airplane to crash into a residential neighborhood, killing a man, a woman and a teenage girl.
The two surviving women, estimated to be in their late 30s to early 40s, were ejected from the plane into one of the homes. Both were listed in critical condition, with a fire official saying one of them had possibly third- degree burns over nearly 90 percent of her body. Firefighters pulled one of the women out of a burning home, while a second was pulled from the crash scene by witnesses.
The names of the dead were withheld, pending family notification. Police said it was unknown which person was piloting the airplane, however, neighbors told reporters Monday the woman they pulled from the crash scene claimed she was the pilot.
Personnel from the National Transportation Safety Board were on scene Tuesday morning conducting an investigation.
All the victims were on the plane and everyone on the ground was accounted for, but a secondary search of the wreckage was being conducted as a precaution, according to the Riverside Fire Department.
The crash was reported about 4:40 p.m. Monday in the 6400 block of Rhonda Road, near Dewey Avenue, about a half-mile northeast of Riverside Municipal Airport.
The Cessna 310 was carrying a married couple and three others from the San Jose area, Riverside Fire Department Chief Michael Moore told reporters at a late-night news conference. It was unclear if everyone aboard belonged to the same family.
One of the survivors was taken to the burn unit at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton and was in surgery Monday night. The other survivor was taken to the Riverside Community Hospital for treatment.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told City News Service the aircraft was en route to San Jose and had just departed Riverside.
The people on the plane had come from San Jose for a cheerleading conference at Disneyland, Moore said. Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim hosted the United Spirit Association Jr. Nationals cheerleading competition on Saturday and Sunday, the Press-Enterprise reported.
The plane clipped power lines as it went down.
Light rain was falling at the time of the crash, and overcast conditions prevailed, though visibility was about three miles, according to Riverside Municipal Airport.
The plane had a fairly full fuel tank and the crash caused a fire that continued to burn into Monday evening, Moore said.
The family who lived in one of the destroyed homes returned from a family event following the crash and verified that they were all together and accounted for, Moore said, adding that their home, along with one other, was a total loss. The person living in the other home has been accounted for, police said Tuesday.
Adjacent homes sustained moderate damage. An entire block of about 40 homes was evacuated, but some were allowed back home Tuesday morning, authorities said.
Fire officials said Tuesday that two homes were red-tagged as uninhabitable, and two others were damaged, but they suffered primarily smoke damage and minor exterior damage.
A shelter was set up for displaced residents and the American Red Cross confirmed it was assisting five displaced families but was anticipating a sixth.
The American Red Cross also was providing mental health workers trained to deal with disasters to speak with residents in the neighborhood about what they saw and experienced.
— City News Service
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