Tuesday | January 16, 2018
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Families from Florida, NY die in Costa Rica plane crash

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Costa Rican investigators said Monday that strong winds or mechanical problems most likely caused a charter aircraft to crash in woods, killing two crewmembers and 10 U.S. citizens, including families from New York and Florida.

The families from the New York City suburb of Scarsdale and from Belleair, Florida, accounted for nine of the dead and were part of a tour organized by Berkeley, California-based Backroads. Their American guide was the 10th U.S. victim.

Michael Soto, deputy director of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation agency, said strong winds were reported Sunday in the area of the crash and were being looked at as a possible factor in the crash of the Nature Air flight in Guanacaste.

“No possibility can be left out for certain,” Soto said. “We have two aspects: The principle one would be some weather condition and if there was a mechanical issue.”

Soto said authorities would begin identifying the remains through DNA testing and dental records Tuesday. Forensic workers recovered the bodies from the wooded site Sunday night.

A family in the suburbs of New York City said five of the dead were relatives on vacation. They 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.

Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale said in a statement posted on the temple’s Facebook page and emailed to The Associated Press that the Steinbergs were involved in philanthropy and local Jewish groups. “This tragedy hits our community very hard,” Blake wrote.

 

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