Three people are killed when small plane crashes into Riverside neighborhood

Firefighters battle heavy smoke after a plane crashed into houses on Rhonda Road in Riverside. Three people were killed.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Three people were killed Monday when a small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in Riverside, destroying two houses.

All the dead were from the plane, Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore said late Monday. Two others onboard the plane, which was on its way back to San Jose after a cheerleading event in Anaheim, were injured.

Moore initially said that four people had died, including a neighborhood resident. He later said that no one on the ground was injured or killed.


The two injured from the plane, which had five people aboard, were both women in their late 30s or early 40s, Moore said. One was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at a burn center.

The crash was reported about 4:40 p.m. The Cessna 310, which had just taken off from Riverside Municipal Airport, crashed into two houses on Rhonda Road, near the intersection of Streeter and Central avenues.

The plane went down about half a mile northeast of the airport, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Pacific Division.

Television footage showed heavy smoke and flames coming from the houses, which quickly burned to the ground as fuel from the Cessna’s full tank caught fire. Debris was scattered across front lawns, landing as far as a half-mile away, Moore said.

The whole block of about 20 houses was evacuated. Late Monday evening, firefighters were still trying to put out the flames. The crash will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Firefighters initially thought that as many as five people were missing in the charred ruins. But a family from one of the destroyed houses came home, Moore said. Residents from another home have not been in contact with authorities, but they appeared to have been away at the time of the crash.



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10:45 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect a lower death toll, updated survivor information and other details.

9:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional deaths, other information.

7:35 p.m.: This article was updated with information from Associated Press that one person was killed and five injured.

6:05 p.m.: This article was updated with information from the FAA.

This article was originally published at 5:36 p.m.