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Plane with 12 believed aboard crashes in Costa Rica

01 January 2018

- Costa Rican authorities say 12 people are dead in a plane crash and 10 of the passengers were US citizens.

The U.S. State Department said it was working with Costa Rican authorities to determine if the plane carried U.S. citizens.

Shocking pictures showing the burning wreckage of the plane at the crash site have been released by Costa Rican authorities.

"We express our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy", the spokesperson said.

Costa Rican authorities say those who died in the plane crash include 10 USA citizens and two local residents.

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The State Department declined to identify the people on board, "out of respect for their families".

The newspaper reported the plane had taken off from the capital San Jose at 11:37 am (1737 GMT) for the small sealed airstrip in Punta Islita, where the tourists boarded.

Enio Cubillo, director of Civil Aviation, said the tourists travelling in the aircraft were staying in a nearby hotel.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

Early Monday "the investigations into the causes of the accident will begin", Solis said.The Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion gave the names of the 10 passengers as: Thibault Astruc, Amanda Geissler, Charles Palmer, Bruce Steinberg, Irene Steinberg, Matthew Steinberg, William Steinberg, Zachary Steinberg, Leslie Weiss and Sherry Wuu. They said within minutes after takeoff the plane took a nose dive and crashed. "I looked at my husband and said, 'You need to go, ' and right at that time two other gentlemen were running up the road, so my husband just ran with them, and they just started right toward the wreckage".

Plane with 12 believed aboard crashes in Costa Rica