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Plane Crash in Costa Rica Left Two American Families Dead

You are currently viewing Plane Crash in Costa Rica Left Two American Families Dead
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COSTA RICA — A charter plane crash in northwestern Costa Rica left 10 American Passengers killed on Sunday and two Costa Rican pilots, according to the Costa Rican government.

 

Two American families were among the dead.

 

According to officials and witnesses, the plane crashed in Guanacaste just moments after takeoff from Punta Islita Airport. The wreckage of the plane, a private aircraft belonging to the airline Nature Air, was on fire and no one responded when it was found by the rescue crews, according to Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security.

 

The office of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis said in a statement Sunday night, “The government of Costa Rica deeply regrets the death of 10 American passengers and [two] Costa Rican pilots in an air crash of aircraft TI-BEI from the company Nature Air, which occurred midday today near Nandayure, Guanacaste.”

 

“Multiple U.S. citizens” died in the crash, the U.S. Department of State confirmed.

 

“We can confirm the death of multiple U.S. citizens in an airplane crash in Costa Rica on December 31, 2017,” a State Department spokesperson said. “We express our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. We are in contact with Costa Rican aviation authorities and will continue to monitor the situation.”

 

The crash took place Sunday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. after the plane left the airport heading to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, a ministry spokesperson said.

 

A family of four from Tampa Bay, Florida, was among those killed. Mitchell Weiss, his wife, Leslie Weiss, and their two children, Ari Weiss and Hannah, all died in the crash, according to Rabbi Jacob Luski of Congregation B’nai Israel of St. Petersburg, Florida. The parents were both physicians, he said.

 

A family of five from New York were also killed, the priest at that family’s chapel said.

 

Bruce and Irene Steinberg as well as their three children, Zachary, William and Matthew Steinberg, all died in the crash, according to Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York.

 

Zachary Steinberg graduated high school in 2016 and his brother William graduated the year after. Matthew Steinberg was a student at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City, according to Scarsdale Public Schools superintendent Thomas Hagerman.

 

“This tragedy is hard to process for a variety of reasons, not least among them the loss of an entire family in one instant,” Hagerman said in an email to the school district community on Monday. “The Steinbergs’ recent graduation dates and rich involvement in the district created a variety of connections which intensify the grief we feel.”

 

The crash took place Sunday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. after the plane left the airport heading to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, a ministry spokesperson said.

 

Dawn and Matthew Wolfe, who have been vacationing in Costa Rica for a month, said they and their three children were sitting in a restaurant near Punta Islita Airport when the plane took off. They said within minutes of takeoff the plane took a nose dive and crashed.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found Costa Rica to be Category 1, which means the country meets safety standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for safety oversight of civil aviation. Carriers from Category 1 countries are permitted to operate into the U.S, according to the FAA.

 

 

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