Plane crashes into two local neighborhood homes

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A twin-engine plane crashed into a Riverside neighborhood Feb. 27, resulting in four fatalities, one injury and the destruction of two homes on Rhonda Road near Riverside Community Church.

Reports of what felt like an earthquake were reported to the Riverside Police Department about 4:50 p.m. According to ABC7 news, the deceased were identified as Nouri Hijazi, 83, Dana Hijazi, 67, Joanne Stacey Pierce, 46, and Adine Farelas, 22, all residents of San Jose.

The Cessna 310, en route to San Jose from Riverside Municipal Airport, was carrying five passengers. Nouri Hijazi piloted the plane with the five people aboard that included his wife, Dana, and their daughter, Pierce, who died March 8 from injuries she sustained in the crash.

They were heading home from watching their granddaughter’s cheer competition in Anaheim when the plane crashed into a residential area in the 6000 block of Rhonda Road for reasons unknown.

According to KGO-TV news in San Francisco, Adine Farelas also died in the crash and the only survivor was her mother, Sylvia Farelas, 46.

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Initially, the plane clipped the first house, then crashed into the adjacent house, where flames engulfed the plane and surrounding houses. Two houses were destroyed and some neighboring houses received minor damage.

Amy Unger, a 35-year-old resident who lives two streets down from the scene of the plane crash, said she heard and felt the crash.

“It felt like a quick earthquake — it was like ‘boom’ and everything rattled and I walked outside shortly after and saw all the smoke and assumed it was a house on fire,” Unger said. “As we were walking around they were saying it was a plane that crashed.”

According to ABC7 news, one of the houses that was hit was empty and nobody on the ground was hurt.

A man in a home near the crash site was inside his house when it was hit but he was not injured. Jocelyn Campuzano, a 17-year-old student at Pomona High School, witnessed the flames and heard screams from a nearby victim.

“I saw a bunch of fire, I heard a lady screaming, ‘Help me, help me,’” Campuzano said. “I saw a bunch of smoke everywhere. I was in shock.”

According to CBS San Francisco Bay Area, Pierce was ejected from the small plane and was pulled from a bedroom window by firefighters.

Many neighbors helped firefighters pull her across the street to another house. She was hospitalized for more than week after suffered burns to 90 percent of her body and had many surgeries since the crash. Pierce died Thursday after her third surgery.

The Press Enterprise reported the wreckage was scattered at least a half-mile away. Houses on several surrounding streets, about 20 of them, were evacuated so The National Transportation Safety Board could do a thorough assessment.

According to NTSB, the plane had engine trouble before it left the Riverside Municipal Airport.

The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash.

About Hannah Preston

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