A sister of Mr. Steinberg confirmed Sunday night in a Facebook post that her brother and his family had died in the crash. A relative who answered the phone at Mr. Steinberg’s parents’ home in Florida confirmed that the Steinbergs lived in Scarsdale, a suburb north of New York City, with their sons William, Zachary and Matthew.
“They were the kind of people you would like to have many of,” the relative said before saying she had to hang up. “They always did everything as a family.”
Aviation and security officials in Costa Rica told local news media that the cause of the crash was unknown but that the Nature Air plane encountered inclement weather on Sunday when it first tried to land in Punta Islita to pick up the American passengers. The plane returned to another airport before it eventually landed in Punta Islita around 11 a.m., the country’s civil aviation director told the newspaper El Mundo.
After the pilots picked up the American passengers, the plane took off for San José, the capital, which is about 140 miles east, the authorities said. Photos posted by government officials on Facebook show that the Cessna plane crashed several hundred yards from the end of a runway at Punta Islita Airport.
Laura Chinchilla, the president of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014, said on Twitter that her cousin was one of the crew members killed in the crash.
Costa Rica, particularly its pristine beaches and mountains on the Pacific coast, is popular with North American and European tourists. More tourists visit Costa Rica from America than any other country. Eco-tourism is a major draw, and Nature Air bills itself as the first carbon-neutral airline in the world.
In September, an American and another passenger on a Nature Air flight died when a single-engine Cessna crashed in a river in Guanacaste. Another American on the flight was injured.