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10th US Victim ID'd In Crash That Killed Five Members Of Area Family

Amanda Geissler Photo Credit: Contributed
Hannah Weiss, 19, was a student in a joint undergraduate degree program at List College and Columbia University. She is shown in an October, 2017 photo taken at 121 Street near Columbia's campus. Photo Credit: Facebook
Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons, Matthew, William and Zachary of Scarsdale Photo Credit: Facebook
The wreckage of the plane, a single-propeller Cessna 208 Caravan, which crashed shortly after takeoff in Costa Rica. Photo Credit: Costa Rica Ministry of Public Security

The 10th American fatality in a crash that claimed the lives of 12, including all five members of a Westchester family on Sunday afternoon in northwestern Costa Rica has been identified.

The final U.S. citizen killed was Amanda Geissler, a trip leader of the Backroads Active Travel Company, said company spokeswoman Liz Einbinder. Geissler, a Utah native, was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The 33-year-old Geissler had been working with Backroads since May.

The five victims from the Scarsdale family were 50-year-old Bruce Steinberg, 51-year-old Irene Steinberg and their sons: Matthew, 13, William, 18, and Zachary, 19. William was a student at the University of Pennsylvania and Zachary was a student at Johns Hopkins University.

Also perishing in the crash were the Weisses, a family of four from Belleair, Fla.: husband and wife Mitchell Weiss, 52, and Leslie Weiss, 50; their daughter, Hannah Weiss, 19; and their son, Ari Weiss, 16. Hannah was in a joint undergraduate degree program at Columbia University and List College in New York City.

Mitchell Weiss was the head of interventional radiology at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, where his wife was a pediatrician.

The plane, a single-propeller Cessna 208 Caravan, crashed around 12:15 p.m. in Guanacaste moments after takeoff from Punta Islita Airport. The private aircraft belonged to Nature Air airline. Conditions at the time of the departure were described as windy. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Juan Manuel Retana was identified as the pilot. Laura Chinchilla, the president of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014, said on Twitter that Retana was her cousin. The other crew member, whose name has not been released, was also a Costa Rican citizen.

"We express our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy," the State Department said in a statement. "We are in contact with Costa Rican aviation authorities and will continue to monitor the situation."

Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera said "the government vows to do everything necessary to help the victims' family members in whatever they need in this difficult moment and sends them the solidarity of all the Costa Rican people."

Bruce Steinberg and his wife were active with the UJA-Federation of New York. Irene Steinberg chaired the annual campaign kickoff of the organization’s Scarsdale Women’s Philanthropy group in 2015.

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