Costa Rica Plane Crash: What We Know About the Victims

A family of five from New York and five other U.S. citizens were among the 12 killed in a plane crash in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province on New Year’s Eve.

A single-engine Cessna that was carrying the 10 Americans and two local pilots crashed into the side of a mountain shortly after takeoff from Punta Islita Airport.

According to aviation officials quoted by local media, the Nature Air plane first encountered difficulties due to strong winds when coming in to land at the airport to pick up the passengers, but the exact cause of the crash is so far unknown. Images of the wreckage were released by Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation press office.

costa rica plane crash victims The tail of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed is seen in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images

Costa Rica’s president, Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that emergency services responded to an alert in the early afternoon after fire and smoke were spotted in a forested area near the airport.

“The government of Costa Rica deeply regrets the death of 10 American passengers and two Costa Rican pilots,” Solís said. “The government expresses its commitment to doing everything necessary to cooperate with the families of the victims in what they require at this difficult time and conveys the solidarity of the entire Costa Rican people.”

Costa Rica’s state department is yet to provide any details about the victims, but Tamara Steinberg Jacobson confirmed on Facebook and to multiple news organizations that her brother died in the plane crash.

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Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their three sons, William, Zachary and Matthew, lived in Scarsdale, New York. They were on vacation in the Central American country, Steinberg Jacobson said.

“For those reaching out to us who have heard about my brother and sister-in-law and my 3 amazing nephews,” Steinberg Jacobson wrote on Facebook, “we are in utter shock and disbelief right now. Those reaching out to my Mom and Dad it is very special thank you.”

Steinberg Jacobson on Monday morning used Facebook to ask for privacy “other than from immediate family and closest friends.”

The New York Times reported that a friend of the Steinbergs said Bruce Steinberg worked as an investment banker, Irene Steinberg volunteered at nonprofits, William Steinberg was studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Zachary Steinberg attended Johns Hopkins University and Matthew Steinberg was in eighth grade at a private school.