Plane crashes near Riverside City College

The death toll rises after a Cessna 310 fell into houses near the Riverside Municipal Airport

By Jose Marquez-Cuevas
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The morning after a plane crashed on Rhonda Road, Riverside city workers sift through the ashy rubble of the four affected homes Feb. 28. (Chris Edson | Viewpoints)

A plane crashed approximately three miles from Riverside City College on Feb. 27. One of the two survivors, Stacey Pierce, died March 8, according to the GoFundMe page raising money for her.

The crash in the Hillside neighborhood on Rhonda Road left five victims, four now deceased – three adult women, including Pierce, 46, and one adult male. The Riverside County coroner’s office confirmed the names of those killed in the crash, identified by relatives in San Jose as Nouri Hijazi, 83, Dana Hijazi, 67, Adine Ferales, 22.

Riverside police began receiving calls about the accident at approximately 4:41 p.m. A total of 60 firefighters rushed to the crash site.

The debris of the plane was found in pieces spread across a length of about 100-150 feet beyond the center point of impact.

Two adult female survivors were immediately rushed to local hospitals, both in critical condition.

One of the survivors, Stacey Pierce, was found in a room of a demolished house, and was later rushed to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton and later was confirmed by the burn center to have suffered from 90 percent third degree burns.

The other and single survivor identified as Silvia Farelas, 46, was found in the vicinity of the crash after having been ejected from the plane. She suffered from airway burns and was rushed to Riverside Community Hospital.

The five occupants were heading back to their hometown of San Jose after attending a cheer leading conference at Disneyland. They were departing from Riverside Municipal Airport when they were suddenly winded off their flight landing in a fiery crash just over two miles from the airport.

According to Riverside Fire Department Captain Tyler Reynolds, a total of four houses have been damaged – two houses completely damaged and two houses with smoke damage and minor exterior damage.

American Red Cross is aiding families that have been affected. Services that are provided include a temporary shelter, mental health and trauma assistance, food and water. Tony Briggs, an American Red Cross representative has clearly explained that a total of about five families have received support.

“Once the wreckage has been recovered we will start gathering archived information related to the man, the machine, and the environment,” said Stephen Stein, Air Safety Investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The investigation consists of a long chain of processes before any department can conclude the probable cause of the incident, and if any mechanical systematic deficiencies played a role in the fallen aircraft.

“Once the fact gathering phasing investigation is complete which is a process that can take 15 maybe even 18 months, a factual report will be released on our website along with a public docket with all the supporting information gathered during the course of the investigation,” said Stein.

As the investigation of the incident continues, the NTSB encourages any witnesses that have seen, heard, or observed anything to submit statements through either their website or by contacting their office at the NTSB headquarters.

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