Monday, January 1, 2018

Entire Steinberg Family from Scarsdale and 3 Weiss' Die in Plane Crash in Costa Rica UPDATED!

Bruce Steinberg, Irene Steinberg, Matthew Steinberg, William Steinberg and Zachary Steinberg (all pictured)

Mitchell, 52, and Leslie Levin Weiss, 50, their 19-year-old daughter Hannah Mae, were killed in the plane crash in Costa Rica. Ari Moses Weiss, 16, has also been reported as dead after the tragedy


Two Jewish American families were killed when a plane crashed in Costa Rica on New Year's Eve.

Mitchell, 52, and Leslie Levin Weiss, 50, both of St. Petersburg, Florida, died alongside their 19-year-old daughter Hannah Mae, when the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan went down, officials report.

The Philadelphia Inquirer also reports that their 16-year-old son Ari Moses Weiss, was killed in the crash.

There are conflicting reports about the death toll of the crash. Several outlets report ten Americans died along with the two Costa Rican pilots, although a total of 13 have been reported dead by various news sources.

Strong winds were seen as a factor in the crash of a small plane in Costa Rica that killed all passengers on board and two local crew members, according to officials and witnesses.

'It's a tragic loss,' said Rabbi Jacob Luski, of the Congregation B'Nai Israel, where the Weiss family attended. 
'I just saw the mom and the daughter last week after Friday evening services,' Luski said. 'They will be sorely missed. It's a real tragedy for their families and the community at large.'

Mitchell Weiss was a radiology specialist in Clearwater, Florida, after studying at medical school in Philadelphia while his wife was a pediatrician who practiced in Tampa. Their daughter Hannah was a student at Columbia University.

The family had relocated from Philadelphia to St. Petersburg, Florida, about 12 years ago.

It is not clear but it is presumed Ari Weiss was with them when the plane went down on New Year's Eve. 

Family and friends of the Steinbergs were still in shock about the loss of the family of five. 
'They were wonderful people. We need a whole world of people like them,' relative Dianne Steinberg, 76, told New York Daily News.

Bruce, who had just turned 50, and his wife Irene Steinberg, and their three sons; Matthew, William and Zachary were all killed, Diario Las Americos reported.

Tamara Jacobson, Bruce's sister, wrote on Facebook: 'We are in utter shock and disbelief right now.' 
The family were very active in their local Jewish community.

Scott Richman, Director of American Jewish Committee Westchester said: 'The entire AJC family mourns the loss of Irene Steinberg and her beautiful family.'
Irene, 51, served on the committee for more than a decade and was joined by her oldest son William who interned at the office last year. She was also involved with the United Jewish Appeal - Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. 

'She was a devoted leader to Jewish causes,' Richman added. 'She was particularly concerned about passing on this love of the Jewish people to the next generation.  'We are deeply saddened by this immense tragedy.'

Irene and Bruce are also said to have donated thousands of dollars to Seeds of Peace, a U.S.-based organisation which focuses on peace-building between young Israelis and Palestinians.

William, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, was also involved in Seeds of Peace, and his aunt revealed on Facebook he had been planning a career in politics.

The University of Pennsylvania's Class Board 2021 shared its condolences on Facebook. 

'We are very shocked and saddened to hear about the death of William Steinberg and his family,' the message read. 'We still cannot believe that they died so unexpectedly. Many of us knew Will very closely, he was such a wonderful person who blessed Penn with his amazing smile everyday. Together we mourn the death of a friend, a peer, and a promising scholar who would have went on to change the world.

At a news conference, Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica Civil Aviation, said the Nature Air charter flight took off just after noon Sunday from Punta Islita and was headed for the capital of San Jose when it crashed.

Strong winds were seen as a factor. The plane burst into flames on impact, according to rescue officials and locals.

Costa Rica's Civil Aviation agency said the pilots had tried to land at Punta Islita earlier Sunday to get the passengers but aborted because of 'the gusts of wind.'
The aircraft was up-to-date with its certifications and had been inspected a month earlier, the agency said.
'There had been a lot wind, really strong,' one resident in the area told AFP on Monday.

She said when she and other locals arrived at the crash site, up a steep hillside, 'we couldn't see, absolutely everything was black.'

She added: 'The front part of the plane was all on fire, and the tail part was the only bit intact.'

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