Small plane crashes into 2 homes in Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A small plane crashed into two homes in Riverside Monday evening shortly after taking off from a nearby airport, leaving fiery wreckage that nearly destroyed one of the homes, officials said.

The Cessna 310 aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Riverside Municipal Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The plane was headed for San Jose when it crashed about a half-mile northeast of the Riverside airport, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The plane came down into a residential neighborhood and collided with two homes, Riverside Police Lt. Charles Payne said. Video from news helicopters showed at least one of the homes appeared to be completely destroyed, engulfed in flames and littered with debris from the small plane near the intersection of Central and Streeter Avenues. The plane’s propeller appeared to be left sitting on the roof of a nearby home.

Shannon Flores, a teacher at an elementary school about three blocks away, said she saw the plane out her classroom window shortly before 5 p.m. She said it was raining during the crash.

“As soon as we saw it fly over, we knew it wasn’t a good thing,” Flores told KABC-TV. “We watched it go down very quickly …. Before we knew it there was a loud crash and huge plumes of smoke.”

H.L. Reyes, who lives about a quarter-mile from the crash site, said 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. “Every time an engine sputters, I’m afraid … This was just like a nightmare coming true.”

Residents of nearby homes were evacuated from the area and taken to a local community center, Payne said. He could not immediately provide any information about any possible injuries.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.