Report: Pilot had difficulty starting engine before Riverside plane crash

Smoke rises from a fire after a plane crashed in Riverside, Calif., Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. The deadly crash injured several when a small plane collided with two homes Monday shortly after taking off from a nearby airport, officials said. (Watchara Phomicinda/The Press-Enterprise via AP)

RIVERSIDE (KRON) — A preliminary report by investigators says the pilot of a small plane that crashed in Southern California on Feb. 27 had difficulty starting one engine.

The preliminary report by National Transportation Safety Board investigators says during the walk-around inspection of the Cessna 310, the pilot, Nouri Hijazi, 83, started the right engine with ease but not the left engine.

After several failed attempts, the left engine eventually began to run and the plane was cleared for takeoff, according to the NTSB report.

The plane departed for San Jose and began a left turn as it entered clouds. Video then showed the plane descending in a slight left-wing-low attitude about a mile from the airport.

The pilot, his wife Dana Hijazi, 67, and Adine Ferales, 22, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The Hijazi’s daughter, Stacey Joanne Pierce, was transported to the hospital with severe injuries. She succumbed to her injuries Wednesday.

The fifth passenger was found on the lawn near the crash site. She was taken to the hospital for possible burns.

No residents in any homes in the area were injured.

The preliminary report cites the pre-flight engine troubles and a range of other facts about the flight but draws no conclusions about what caused the crash.

The NTSB will release a final report on the crash when the investigation is completed.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Pierce at

Bay City News and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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