Saturday 21 April 2018

Family of five from New York among the dead in Costa Rican plane crash

Smoke and fire seen at the site where a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica December 31, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REUTERS
Smoke and fire seen at the site where a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica December 31, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REUTERS
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A family of five from the New York City suburb of Scarsdale was aboard a plane that crashed into woodland off a popular tourist beach in Costa Rica on Sunday, killing all 12 people aboard, a family relative said.

Ten US citizens and two Costa Rican pilots were killed when the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft crashed minutes after takeoff into a mountainous area off the beach town of Punta Islita, the Costa Rican government said.

The town is in the province of Guanacaste, about 230 km (140 miles) west of the capital of San Jose.

The dead included the Steinberg family, consisting of a couple and their three sons.

Fire seen at the site where a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica December 31, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REUTERS
Fire seen at the site where a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica December 31, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REUTERS
Wreckage in flames after a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica in this still image taken from social media video December 31, 2017. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REUTERS

"We are in utter shock and disbelief right now," Tamara Steinberg Jacobsen, the sister of the father, Bruce Steinberg, said on Facebook, where she posted pictures of the family and thanked people for their condolences.

"This will be our last post until we know further details. At this time we ask for privacy other than from immediate family and closest friends," she said in a subsequent post.

The family was identified as Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons William, Zachary and Matthew, The New York Times reported, citing relatives and a family friend.

Nature Air, the Costa Rican company that operated the flight, identified the five Steinbergs and five other passengers: Thibault Astruc, Amanda Geissler, Charles Palmer, Leslie Weiss and Sherry Wuu.

All 10 passengers were US citizens, the State Department confirmed on Monday.

They all died along with Costa Rican pilots Juan Manuel Retana and Emma Ramos, Nature Air said.

People standing at the site of a plane crash near in Punta Islita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Costa Rica's Public Safety Ministry via AP)
People standing at the site of a plane crash near in Punta Islita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Costa Rica's Public Safety Ministry via AP)
Smoke rises from wreckage after a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica December 31, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REUTERS

Bruce Steinberg worked in investment banking and Irene Steinberg volunteered for many nonprofit groups, The Times said, citing a family friend, Lyn Kaller.

Matthew was an eighth-grader at a private school, William attended the University of Pennsylvania and Zachary was at Johns Hopkins University, the Times reported.

"They were a very loving, close family. They were devoted to their children. Any picture you see of them, it was full of smiles," Kaller was quoted as saying by The Journal News, which covers the Lower Hudson Valley area of New York state.

Reached by Reuters on Sunday, Kaller declined to comment.

Officials as of Sunday had yet to determine the cause of the crash, said Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica's civil aviation agency.

Punta Islita, on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, is popular among North American and European tourists for its pristine beaches and lush landscape.

Reuters

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