‘Ball of Fire’: 3 Dead, 2 Injured After Plane Crashes Into Riverside Neighborhood

Two homes were completely destroyed and several others were damaged when the Cessna 310 crashed

At least three people were killed and two were injured when a small plane on a cross-California flight crashed in a Riverside neighborhood on Monday afternoon, igniting a devastating fire.

The Cessna 310 crashed under "unknown circumstances" about a half-mile northeast of Riverside Municipal Airport, landing on at least two homes, officials said. The Riverside Fire Department responded to reports of the crash at Central Avenue and Streeter Avenue around 4:45 p.m.

"Upon impact, the plane pretty much split apart," Riverside City Fire Chief Michael Moore said.

"It was like a loud boom," witness Jose Bautista told NBC4 Southern California. 

The twin-engine plane had just departed from Riverside for San Jose at 4:40 p.m. when it crashed about a mile away, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Cessna's five passengers, which included a husband and wife, were returning to San Jose after attending a cheerleading conference at Disneyland, Moore said.

Three passengers on the aircraft were killed, and their identities are unknown as of Monday night. The other two passengers were ejected from the plane, Moore said.

Fire officials had previously stated that four people were killed in the crash, but they later confirmed that only three bodies had been found.

One of the survivors was hospitalized with critical burns and the other was in stable condition, police Officer Ryan Railsback said Tuesday. He said both were adult women recovering after undergoing surgery.

The residents of one of the destroyed homes were not home at the time of the crash, Moore said. All other residents are believed to be accounted for, though firefighters are still searching for more possible victims in the wreckage.

David Swinfard was sitting in his living room doing a crossword puzzle when the plane crashed, destroying his house.

He said felt his house shake and then saw flames flying from every direction. Swinfard escaped with only a minor burn.

"I thought, I'm going to have to get out of here or I'm going to die," he said.  

Daniel Hernandez, who lives in the neighborhood, described the sounds of the crash as a "very loud explosion." He said fumes entered his room and he could feel the heat on his face before he ran outside.

Ana Duran, who lives across from where the plane crashed, said that everyone in the neighborhood ran to see what they could do to help.

"It just sounded like a bomb," Duran said. "I heard people screaming and yelling."

Angelina Caballero, who lives across the street from where the plane crashed, said she saw a woman climbing out of the wreckage.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the plane crash. 

NBC4's Jason Kandel contributed to this report.

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