Scarsdale mourns family killed in Costa Rica plane crash

Posted: Updated:

A family from Scarsdale was among 12 people who were killed when a charter aircraft crashed Sunday in Costa Rica.

Authorities say 10 U.S. citizens and two Costa Rica residents were killed when the plane crashed in Guanacaste, in northwest Costa Rica.

Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale sent a letter to the congregation, revealing that longtime congregants Bruce and Irene Steinberg died in the crash along with their children: William, Zachary and Matthew.

While authorities have not yet publicly confirmed the victims' identities, family members have been inundated with condolences on social media.

"Accident like that, at any time is tragic and poignantly at the end of the year, it's an awful way to go into the new year," says Jon Mark of Scarsdale.

Friends say the family traveled internationally often as the elder Steinberg wanted to expose their children to different cultures.

William and Zachary were in college, while Matthew was 8th grade.

Costa Rica's Public Safety Ministry posted photographs and video of the crash site showing burning wreckage of the plane.

At a news conference, Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica Civil Aviation, 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.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

He identified the pilot as Juan Manuel Retana and described him as very experienced. Former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said via Twitter that Retana was her cousin.

The same plane had arrived in Punta Islita on Sunday morning from San Jose and was delayed in landing by strong winds, Cubillo said.

Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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