US & Canada

California plane crash: Three dead as aircraft 'nosedives' into homes

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Media captionFootage shows damage caused to properties in California after impact of plane crash

Three people were killed and two others injured when a small plane crashed and burst into flames in a residential area in California, officials said.

A married couple and three teenagers were on board the flight, which had just taken off from Riverside airport on Monday.

They were returning home to San Jose following a cheerleading event at the Disneyland theme park.

The identities of the victims have not been released.

Residents of the two homes hit by the plane have been accounted for.

One of the teenagers, a girl, was thrown from the back seat of the light aircraft but suffered only minor injuries, Riverside fire chief Michael Moore said.

"Upon impact, the plane pretty much split apart, and luckily she was ejected," he said.

The girl managed to crawl to safety from the wreckage of the house and ask for help. She was later able to talk to firefighters about what had happened before she was taken to hospital, Mr Moore added.

Image copyright AP
Image caption One of the passengers was thrown from the plane but suffered only minor injuries, officials said
Image copyright AP
Image caption The two homes hit by the plane were badly damaged

One witness said that the plane's wings were "nearly perpendicular to the ground" moments before it "went into a nosedive" and crashed into the two homes, AP news agency reports.

Firefighters pulled another passenger from one of the burning properties. The victim was unconscious and said to be in a San Bernardino hospital in critical condition.

Three bodies, all from the plane, were found in the wreckage of the aircraft and the homes.

The plane, which broke up on impact, was still burning several hours after the crash because of the fuel it was carrying.

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