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Sunday 22 April 2018

12 killed in Costa Rica plane crash

Smoke rises from the site of a plane crash in Punta Islita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Costa Rica's Public Safety Ministry via AP)
Smoke rises from the site of a plane crash in Punta Islita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Costa Rica's Public Safety Ministry via AP)

Costa Rican investigators are looking into what caused a charter aircraft to crash in woods in the country's north west soon after takeoff, killing the 10 US citizens and two local crew members on board.

Officials said they are still seeking to establish the names of the Americans who died when the plane went down in Guanacaste.

They said Nature Air had provided a passenger list, but the names on it had not been confirmed.

A family in the suburbs of New York City said five of the dead Americans were relatives on holiday.

They identified them as Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons Matthew, William and Zachary, all of Scarsdale.

"We are in utter shock and disbelief right now," Bruce Steinberg's sister Tamara Steinberg Jacobson wrote on Facebook.

She also confirmed the deaths in an interview with NBC News.

Rabbi Jonathan Blake, of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, said in a statement posted on the temple's Facebook page that the Steinbergs were involved in philanthropy and local Jewish groups.

"This tragedy hits our community very hard," he wrote.

Enio Cubillo, the director of Costa Rica Civil Aviation, said the Nature Air charter flight crashed shortly after taking off just after noon on Sunday from Punta Islita on a planned flight to the capital San Jose.

He said investigators are looking into possible causes.

Mr Cubillo identified the pilot as Juan Manuel Retana and described him as very experienced.

Former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla said via Twitter that Mr Retana was her cousin.

The same plane had arrived in Punta Islita on Sunday morning from San Jose and was delayed in landing by strong winds, Mr Cubillo said.

AP

Press Association

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