Costa Rican officials are investigating the cause of a charter airplane crash Sunday in a mountainous, wooded area west of the city of San Jose that killed 10 U.S. citizens and two local pilots.
Officials say the plane, operated by the local airline Nature Air, burst into flames upon impact. There were no survivors.
A family in the suburbs of New York City said five of the dead Americans were a family on vacation. A relative identified them as Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons Matthew, William and Zachary, all of Scarsdale.
”We are in utter shock and disbelief right now,'' Bruce Steinberg's sister, Tamara Steinberg Jacobson, wrote on Facebook and posted pictures of the family.
Speaking at a news conference, Costa Rica Civil Aviation Director Enio Cubillo said the Nature Air charter flight took off just after noon Sunday from Punta Islita and was headed for the capital of San Jose when it crashed.
Cubillo identified the pilot as Juan Manuel Retana and described him as very experienced. He said the cause of the crash was under investigation.
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis said his government "profoundly regrets" the deaths.
Punta Islita, in the Pacific Coast region of Guanacaste province, is an extremely popular tourist destination.