Smoke and fire seen at the site where a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica December 31, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REU Smoke and fire seen at the site where a plane crashed in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, in the province of Guanacaste, in Costa Rica December 31, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Ministerio de Seguridad Publica de Costa Rica/via REU

New York family of 5 among the dead in Costa Rican plane crash

Mon, Jan. 1, 2018
NEW YORK - 1 January 2018: A family of five from the New York City suburb of Scarsdale was aboard a plane that crashed minutes after takeoff from a popular beach resort in Costa Rica on Sunday, killing all 12 people aboard, a relative and the family's rabbi said.

Ten U.S. citizens and two Costa Rican pilots were killed when the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft crashed into a mountainous area off the beach town of Punta Islita, the Costa Rican government said. The town is in the province of Guanacaste, about 230 km (140 miles) west of the capital of San Jose.

The dead included the Steinberg family, consisting of a couple and their three sons.

"We are in utter shock and disbelief right now," Tamara Steinberg Jacobsen, the sister of the father, Bruce Steinberg, said on Facebook, where she posted pictures of the family and thanked people for their condolences.

She also asked for privacy.

Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple identified the family as Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons William, Zachary and Matthew.

"This tragedy hits our community very hard," Blake said on Facebook, saying the family had belonged to the temple since 2001.

The family had been involved in causes such as UJA-Federation of New York, the American Jewish Committee and Seeds of Peace, the rabbi said.

Nature Air, the Costa Rican company that operated the flight, identified the five Steinbergs and five other passengers: Thibault Astruc, Amanda Geissler, Charles Palmer, Leslie Weiss and Sherry Wuu.

All 10 passengers were U.S. citizens, the State Department confirmed on Monday.

They all died along with Costa Rican pilots Juan Manuel Retana and Emma Ramos, Nature Air said.

Bruce Steinberg worked in investment banking and Irene Steinberg volunteered for many nonprofit groups, The Times said, citing a family friend, Lyn Kaller.

Matthew was an eighth-grader at a private school, William attended the University of Pennsylvania and Zachary was at Johns Hopkins University, the Times reported.

"They were a very loving, close family. They were devoted to their children. Any picture you see of them, it was full of smiles," Kaller was quoted as saying by The Journal News, which covers the Lower Hudson Valley area of New York state.

Reached by Reuters on Sunday, Kaller declined to comment.

Punta Islita, on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, is popular among North American and European tourists for its pristine beaches and lush landscape.
 
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