A New York family of 5 are among the 10 Americans killed in Sunday’s plane crash in Guanacaste.
According to the New York Times, several weeks ago, Bruce and Irene Steinberg, from Scarsdale, New York, had told their friends and family how excited they were about the adventure they were going to undertake with their three children in a country with “exuberant tropical forests and beaches.”
The Steinbergs were accompanied by the children William, Zachary and Mathew (17, 19 and 13).
The family, along with a group of 15 other American tourists, had been visiting Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. On Sunday, the Steinbergs, in the second group of 10 American tourists, were headed to San Jose for their flight home. But the small plane, a Cessna Grand Caravan with the tail letters TI- BEI, carrying them crashed in the area of Nandayure, Guanacaste, minutes after taking off at 12:10 pm.
The other victims of the crash were identified as Thibault Astruc, Amanda Rae Geissler, Charles Palmer, Leslie Weiss and Sherry Wuu; and the Nature Air pilots, Costa Ricans Emma Ramos and Juan Manuel Retana.
The first plane, carrying the other 10 American tourists, had taken off at 11:00 am and had landed at the Juan Santamaria airport at 11:40 am and without incident.
Authorities responded to smoke and flames rising from a wooded area near the Punta Islita airfield, first responders finding the charred wreckage of the small aircraft and the burned remains of those who had been on board. There were no survivors.
The New York Times reported, “A sister of Mr. Steinberg confirmed Sunday night in a Facebook post that her brother and his family had died in the crash. A relative who answered the phone at Mr. Steinberg’s parents’ home in Florida confirmed that the Steinbergs lived in Scarsdale, a suburb north of New York City, with their sons William, Zachary, and Matthew.”
“They were the kind of people you would like to have many of,” the relative said before saying she had to hang up. “They always did everything as a family,” said the report.
Aviacion Civil (Civil Aviation) authorities on Sunday said the cause of the crash was unknown but that the small airplane had encountered bad weather – wind gusts of up 50 km/h. Ennio Cubillo, director of the Civil Aviation, explained at a press conference that the plane, on its way to Punta Islita from San Jose, had landed first at the Tambor aerodromo (airfield), taking off again after the winds had died down, eventually landed at 11 am at Punta Islita.
After picking up the passengers, the plane took off for San Jose. Photos posted on Facebook by the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica (MSP), show that the small plane crashed several hundred meters from the end of the Punta Islita runway.
On Facebook, President Luis Guillermo Solis, who is vacationing in Spain, lamented the tragedy, offered his condoliences to the families of the tourists and pilots and confirmed that an investigation would be underway today (Jan. 1) to detemine the cause of the crash.
In September, an American and another passenger on a Nature Air flight died when a single-engine Cessna crashed in the Torres river, in San Jose, minutes after taking off from the Pavas airport.
On Twitter, former President Laura Chinchilla (2010 – 2014) said her cousin had been the pilot of the downed plane.
La fatalidad se interpone en las celebraciones de familia. Nuestro querido primo fallece como parte de la tripulación de la avioneta siniestrada en Guanacaste. Fuerza a sus hijos y hermanos y paz a sus restos.
Permanecerás en nuestro corazón querido #JuanManuelRetana
— Laura Chinchilla M. (@Laura_Ch) December 31, 2017
The Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), reported last night all the bodies of the victims had been recovered and were transferred to the Forensic Medicine Lab in Heredia.