A small plane crashed onto two houses in Riverside, California, Monday, killing three people and injuring two others, according to reports. The aircraft, reported to be a Cessna 310, was heading to San Jose from a cheerleading competition in Anaheim, Southern California.
A couple and three teenagers were on the plane, which crashed shortly after taking off from the Riverside Municipal Airport. It is reportedly registered to Hijazi Nouri of San Jose and was built in 1974.
Authorities recovered three bodies from the wreckage of the plane and the destroyed homes. One of the teenagers, a girl, sustained minor injuries when she was thrown from a back seat of the aircraft after impact, Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore said, according to the Associated Press (AP).
One of the injured passengers was rushed to the Riverside Community Hospital and another one was taken to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, Moore said, adding that the pilot was most likely among those killed.
“It’s horrible, especially when you couple together that they were going to a cheer competition and this was supposedly a happy time, and then just to have a tragic incident like this – and then into one of our Riverside residences that I’m sure always have that mild fear of something happening," Moore reportedly said. "It’s really just a sad, sad case for us."
Although the cause of the crash is not known yet, officials reportedly believe that bad weather is likely to have resulted in the accident.
About 20 houses were evacuated following the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will now investigate the accident. Officials are also trying to identify the victims.
A witness, identified as H.L. Reyes, told AP 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. "This was just like a nightmare coming true."
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