RIVERSIDE – At least four people are dead and two are injured after a plane crashed into a Riverside house Monday evening.
The plane was carrying five people – a husband, wife and three teenagers, all believed to be related – who had come to Riverside from San Jose for a cheer competition at Disneyland.
One person on the plane survived.
Authorities are still looking for three to five people who are unaccounted for. Two homes were totally destroyed by the crash.
One of the injured victims is in surgery at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. (The hospital, about 13 miles from the crash site, has the region’s closest burn unit.) The other was taken to the much closer Riverside Community Hospital.
The cause of the crash is still unknown.
Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore said weather may have contributed to the crash, but he did not have that information specifically.
“This is just a sad case,” Moore said. “We hope the best” for the victims and their families.
The fire is still burning. The plane’s fuel tank was fairly full.
The city’s utility company is checking on power lines that were damaged.
The crash, just before 4:45 p.m., set several houses ablaze on Rhonda Avenue, in a neighborhood just east of Riverside Municipal Airport.
A witness saw the plane make a turn, then nosedive. Neighbors say the crash felt like an earthquake that was followed by a “big orange ball of fire.”
The plane had just taken off, Airport Manager Kim Ellis said.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane was a Cessna 310 whose destination was San Jose. The circumstances of the crash were not immediately known, Gregor said.
Riverside Fire Department Battalion Chief David Bakas provided the numbers of one dead and four injured. He did not know whether they had been in the plane or in one of the houses.
A fleet of emergency vehicles responded, including fire engines, paramedic vehicles and police cars. By about 6:30 p.m., the white smoke that had been billowing into…