Costa Rica: US tourists killed in plane crash

plane wreckage Image copyright Public Security Ministry
Image caption The crash happened in a mountainous area

Twelve people have been killed in a plane crash in western Costa Rica, officials say.

Ten of the victims were US citizens, along with the Costa Rican pilot and co-pilot. Local media said five victims came from a single family.

The Nature Air single-propeller Cessna 208 Caravan was travelling from the capital San José to the resort of Punta Islita, the CRhoy website reported.

There were no survivors. It was unclear what caused the crash.

On board the plane were two families from the US: Mitchell Weiss, his wife, Leslie Weiss, and their two children, Hannah and Ari Weiss from St Petersburg, Florida; and Bruce and Irene Steinberg from Scarsdale, New York, and their three children, Zachary, William and Matthew.

The tenth passenger was a woman whom Costa Rican authorities have identified as 33-year-old Amanda Geissler.

The pilot was Juan Manuel Retana and the co-pilot was Emma Ramos, both from Costa Rica.

The incident happened in a mountainous area near Bejuco in Guanacaste province.

Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solís confirmed the deaths in a statement published online, saying his government "deeply regrets" the fatalities.

His predecessor, former President Laura Chinchilla, tweeted that one of the crew members, Juan Manuel Retana, was her cousin.

"A death has interrupted our family celebration. Our beloved cousin died as part of the crew of the plane that crashed in Guanacaste. Courage to his children and siblings and may he rest in peace. You will stay in our hearts dear #Juanmanuel Retana" she wrote.