MNA International Desk: A Costa Rican plane crashed into woodland off a popular tourist beach on Sunday, killing 10 US citizens and two local pilots, the Costa Rican government said.
The accident occurred in the mountainous area off the Punta Islita beach town in the province of Guanacaste, about 230 km (140 miles) west of the capital of San Jose.
Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica’s civil aviation agency, said the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft operated by local company Nature Air had crashed minutes after take-off, but that officials had not yet determined the cause of the crash.
The plane had passed a safety inspection about a month ago and was authorized to fly, Cubillo said. Although strong winds in the morning had forced the pilots to alter their itinerary, they had flown safely to Punto Islita to pick up passengers headed to San Jose.
A video of the crash site obtained from Costa Rica’s Security Ministry shows orange flames consuming a pile of blackened ruins, with plane parts scattered in an area thick with trees.
Laura Chinchilla, who was president of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014, said on Twitter that her cousin, one of the pilots, had died in the accident.
A US State Department official confirmed that multiple US citizens had died, but said the agency would not provide further details out of respect for the affected families.