At least 12 die in Costa Rica plane crash

At least 12 die in Costa Rica plane crash
PHOTO: Reuters

SAN JOSE - A plane crashed in Costa Rica on Sunday (Dec 31), killing at least 12 people, most of them foreign tourists, the country's security ministry said.

The crash, whose cause is not yet known, took place in the mountainous area of Punta Islita, which is popular with tourists, in the province of Guanacaste, about 230km west of the capital of San Jose.

Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica's civil aviation agency, told local media that the deceased included 10 foreign tourists and two Costa Rican pilots for the aircraft, which was operated by local company Nature Air.

Nature Air could not immediately be reached for comment.

Laura Chinchilla, who was president of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014, said on Twitter that her cousin, one of the crew members, had died in the accident.

The US State Department said it was working with Costa Rican authorities to determine if the plane carried US citizens.

"There are no people alive," Security Minister Gustavo Mata said, adding that autopsies would be needed to confirm the total number and identities of victims because their remains were badly burned.

Punta Islita, on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, is popular among North American and European tourists for its pristine beaches and lush landscape.

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