Riverside County

‘I Thought It Was an Earthquake:' Small Plane Crashes Into Man's Backyard in Hemet

The fiery crash happened just a few feet from the home in the Riverside County community.

A pilot of a small plane was severely burned but miraculously survived a crash in Hemet, thanks in part to a good Samaritan.

The crash happened at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The plane crashed into James Hood's backyard after narrowly missing power lines.

"It was a loud explosion an I felt the house move. I thought it was an earthquake," said Hood. "I went to the back of the house and there was smoke coming through the window and all over my living room."

At first Hood thought a car had swerved from Warren Road and crashed into a block fence until he saw the plane fully engulfed in flames.

"Then I saw a guy sitting there in my yard on fire," Hood said. "He's literally burning so I get the water hose and I start trying to help him.

"He was awake and he was calm as could be. He was talking to me. He said, 'Put the fire out, man. Please put the fire out on me and can you move me into the shade? Get some shade.'"

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First responders got the fire under control as paramedics rushed the pilot to a hospital.

Firefighters say the plane is a Beechcraft Model 7 Skipper.

"We do have the NTSB and FAA here on scene already on site in Hemet," said Chief Eddie Sell of the Hemet Fire Department.

As investigators search for clues, two homes had to be red tagged because of safety concerns, including the home Hood shares with his In-laws.

"My mother-in-law has a garden back there and they could have been back there gardening," said Herman Moreno whose house was affected. "Luckily nobody was back there."

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