Costa Rica plane crash victims include New York family, reports say

A family of five Americans vacationing in Costa Rica was among the victims of a New Year's Eve plane crash that killed all 12 people on board, investigators and local media have revealed.

The small plane carrying 10 American tourists and two local crew members crashed and burst into flames in a wooded area in in Guanacaste, northwest Costa Rica, the government reported Sunday.

Five of the victims were identified as Americans Bruce, Irene, Matthew, William and Zachary Steinberg, Diario Las Americas reported. Media reports said the family was from Scarsdale, N.Y.

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Rabbi Jacob Luski of Congregation B'nai Israel said Monday that victims' relatives had informed him that four members of his congregation were also on the plane.

"It is a tragedy that the Drs. Mitchell Weiss and Leslie Weiss and their two children, Hannah and Ari, died in that terrible crash," he said. "They were a wonderful family who will be missed."

The Central American nation’s Public Safety Ministry posted photographs and video of the crash site showing burning wreckage. All that was left of the plane was a charred, smoldering mass of fiery debris.

The plane had taken off from a local runway and was heading to the Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Witnesses said the plane burst into flames after crashing.

Witnesses said the plane burst into flames after crashing. (Costa Rican Public Safety Ministry)

The Costa Rica Star reported that the Nature Air aircraft had problems shortly after takeoff, crashed in the mountains and immediately caught fire, according to witnesses.

Rescue teams could not arrive at the scene quickly because it was in a remote area. Officers in the area confirmed that nobody survived the crash.

Retana, one of the pilots, was a cousin of Costa Rica's former President Laura Chinchilla, Diario Las Americas added.

Nature Air did not respond to phone and email messages.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.