GUANACASTE, Costa Rica (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — Ten U.S. citizens were killed Sunday in a plane crash in Costa Rica – among them a family of five from Scarsdale.
Two local crewmembers also lost their lives.
The Public Safety Ministry posted photographs and video of the crash site showing burning wreckage of the single-propeller plane in Guanacaste, northwest Costa Rica. The aircraft was barely recognizable with the wreckage still in flames.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, among those killed were Bruce and Irene Steinberg of Scarsdale and their handsome sons – William, Zachary, and Matthew. They were all beloved in their community, and after the plane crash, relatives and close friends were in complete disbelief with their entire family gone.
“It’s hard to process,” said next-door neighbor and friend Lisa Flicker. “It just doesn’t feel real.”
Flicker said the family’s rabbi called her with the terrible news Sunday afternoon.
Neighbor Susan Adler was heartbroken knowing she would never see the Steinbergs again.
“They’re just lovely people,” Adler said. “When I moved in, she was very welcoming; brought me a cake, offered her friendship. It’s just devastating news.”
“It’s so devastating because they’re great people,” Flicker added. “And the kids are great, and I feel like they’re the family you look to to emulate.”
CBS2 spoke to a relative of the Steinberg family, who kindly asked for privacy as the mourned the unthinkable loss.
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera issued a statement following the crash, reading in part, “The government expresses its commitment to doing everything necessary to cooperate with the families of the victims in what they require at this difficult time and conveys the solidarity of the entire Costa Rican an people.”
A U.S. State Department statement confirmed the deaths of “multiple U.S. citizens.”
“We express our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. We are in contact with Costa Rican aviation authorities and will continue to monitor the situation,” the statement said. “The protection of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the highest priorities for the State Department. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance to affected U.S. citizens.”
A statement from the ministry said 10 U.S. passengers and two Costa Rican crew members were aboard the plane belonging to Nature Air. It said the plane had taken off nearby.
The same plane had an earlier flight delayed because of high winds.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation late Sunday.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)