One of two women who survived a plane crash in a Riverside neighborhood last week has died of her injuries, according to her family.
Joanne Stacey Pierce, 46, had been hospitalized for more than a week, and doctors had treated her for severe burns to more than 90% of her body. She also had both legs amputated.
On Tuesday, her injuries became too overwhelming, said her husband, Richard Pierce. The San Jose mother was surrounded by her family as she took her last breaths.
“The burns were too much,” he told The Times on Wednesday. “We are devastated.”
Joanne Stacey Pierce was one of five people aboard a Cessna T310Q on Feb. 27 when it crashed into a Riverside neighborhood shortly after takeoff. Her 67-year-old mother, Dana Hijazi; 83-year-old stepfather, Nouri Hijazi; and family friend Adine Ferales, 22, were killed in the crash. Ferales’ mother, Silvia Ferales, survived the crash, along with Pierce.
The group was returning to San Jose after watching Pierce’s daughter, Brooke, in a cheerleading competition at Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, KPIX-TV Channel 5 reported. Pierce’s daughter returned home with friends and was not a passenger on the aircraft.
Richard Pierce told the Bay Area television news station that he had begged his wife to take another flight before takeoff.
Delmy Pennington, co-owner of the D&D Airport Cafe at Riverside Municipal Airport, said she saw the plane struggling to take off before delaying its departure amid heavy rain. After the rain stopped, the private plane took off. But Pennington said she was worried because the back of the plane was shaking as it left the ground.
The plane crashed about 4:40 p.m., causing a large fire that destroyed at least one home and damaged several others.
Joanne Stacey Pierce was ejected from the plane and pulled by firefighters from a bedroom window, her husband told the TV station.
A GoFundMe account was created to help her family raise money to pay for medical bills and funeral expenses.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. The plane was registered to Pierce’s stepfather, Nouri Hijazi.