Three people died and two were injured when a small plane carrying a family returning from a cheerleading competition crashed into two southern California homes and sparked a major fire Monday, authorities say. A husband, wife, and three teenagers were on the plane that had just taken off from Riverside Municipal Airport at 4:40pm intending to return to San Jose after the weekend cheerleading event at Disneyland when it crashed in the residential neighborhood, Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore tells the AP. The two homes hit directly were destroyed and there was minor damage to neighboring houses.
One of the teenagers, a girl, was thrown from a back seat of the plane on impact but had only minor injuries, Moore says. Three witnesses told TV stations she crawled from the home asking for help. Another survivor is in critical condition at a burn unit. The chief, who initially put the death toll at four, now says three people were killed, all of them on the plane, the Los Angeles Times reports. "It's horrible," he says, especially given that they had gone to a cheer competition and it was "supposed to be a happy time." (Read more plane crash stories.)