USA

New York family among 12 killed in Costa Rican crash


San Jose, Jan 1 (IANS): A family of five from New York has perished in a Central American plane crash, that left at least 10 American tourists and two pilots dead, a media report said.

No one survived the single-engine Cessna crash on Sunday when it smashed into a mountainous region in Guancaste in Costa Rica while en route to the beachside resort town of Punta Islita on the Pacific coast, an official said.

The victims included Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons, Matthew, William and Zachary from Scarsdale, the New York Post reported.

Senior Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale told The Post that the family's relatives - and the entire local community - were "deeply hurting."

Reports from Costa Rican media identified the other Americans as Mitchell Weiss, Leslie Levin Weiss, Hanna Mae Weiss, Amanda Rae Geissler and Gene Wing Szeto.

The Costa Rican crew members were identified as Juan Manuel Retana and Emma Ramos Calderon, Former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, who held office from 2010 to 2014, posted on Twitter that Retana was her cousin.

"Fatality gets in the way of family celebrations. Our beloved cousin dies as part of the crew of the plane crash in Guanacaste. Force to your children and brothers and peace to your remains. You will remain in our dear heart # JuanManuelRetana," she wrote.

Video posted online by the crhoy.com web site showed burning wreckage next to what appeared to be the tail section of the plane.

Security Minister Gustavo Mata said autopsies would be needed to confirm the number and identities of the badly burned victims, the report said.

The Aviation Safety Network web site said the plane was a single-engine Cessna 208B Grand Caravan.

It was owned and operated by Nature Air, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment, reports said.


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