San Jose (January 2, 2018): A small plane crash Sunday in northwest Costa Rica killed 12 people, including 10 US citizens, officials said.
The single-engine turboprop’s two Costa Rican pilots also died in the crash, President Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera said in a statement posted on social media. There were no survivors.A spokesperson for the US State Department confirmed the deaths of “multiple US citizens” in the crash.
“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 spokesperson said. It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, which happened early Sunday afternoon in Nandayure, a region in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province.
Authorities said Sunday they were focusing on recovering the victims’ bodies and would begin an investigation into the cause of the crash first thing Monday.
The plane took off from the Punta Islita Airport at 12:10 p.m. Sunday, bound for Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Officials received reports of the crash around 12:20 p.m., 10 minutes after takeoff.
Earlier Sunday, heavy winds had forced the plane’s pilots to land at another airport and delay their arrival in Punta Islita.
Costa Rica’s President expressed his condolences on Twitter. “The government vows to do everything necessary to help the victims’ family members in whatever they need in this difficult moment and sends them the solidarity of all the Costa Rican people,” Solis said.
The private aircraft, a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan registered as TI-BEI, was part of Nature Air’s fleet, officials said.