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  HOME | Central America

Small Plane with 12 Aboard Crashes in Northern Costa Rica

SAN JOSE – A small private plane with 10 passengers and two crewmembers on board crashed in a mountainous part of northern Costa Rica on Sunday, killing all on board, emergency authorities said.

The plane took off from Juan Santamaria Airport en route to Punta Islita, in Guanacaste province on the Pacific coast, but crashed into a hillside and burned.

“(Government) aircraft ... confirms location of an aircraft in flames, crashed in Punta Islita sector. It is presumed that it is a private aircraft with 10 passengers and 2 crewmembers. Developing story, pending confirmation of data,” the Public Security Ministry reported.

“(Emergency) units are on the scene, which is difficult to access. The fire destroyed the aircraft and the victims – including 10 tourists and two crewmembers – were burned to a crisp,” fire chief Hector Chavez told EFE.

The aircraft was owned by the Nature Air company and was crewed by Costa Rican citizens Juan Manuel Retana and Emma Ramos.

The tourists who died, all of whom were US citizens, were identified as the Steinberg family – Bruce, Irene, Matthew, William and Zachary – along with Charles Palmer, Thibault Astruc, Amanda Geissler, Sherry Wuu and Leslie Weiss.

Chavez said that the airplane was en route to San Jose and “very soon after taking off collided with the mountain,” apparently head-on.

Civil Aviation authorities have launched an investigation into the accident.

 

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