SAN JOSE – A small passenger plane has crashed in western Costa Rica, killing all 12 people on board, officials said on Sunday.
The aircraft, a single-propellor Cessna 208 Caravan, came down in a mountainous area near the Pacific coastal beach town of Punta Islita in the country’s Guanacaste peninsula, according to a spokesman for the public security ministry.
The victims were 10 foreign passengers, including five members of a single family, and the Costa Rican pilot and co-pilot, local media say.
It was unclear what caused the crash.
The incident happened in a mountainous area near Bejuco in Guanacaste province, the CRhoy website reported.
Costa Rica’s 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.
La fatalidad se interpone en las celebraciones de familia. Nuestro querido primo fallece como parte de la tripulación de la avioneta siniestrada en Guanacaste. Fuerza a sus hijos y hermanos y paz a sus restos.
Permanecerás en nuestro corazón querido #JuanManuelRetana
— Laura Chinchilla M. (@Laura_Ch) December 31, 2017
Punta Islita, on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, is popular among North American and European tourists for its pristine beaches and lush landscape.