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Officials Ground Airline That Crashed, Killing Popular Westchester Family

Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons, Matthew, William and Zachary of Scarsdale
Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their sons, Matthew, William and Zachary of Scarsdale Photo Credit: Facebook

The Costa Rican charter company that operated the plane that killed a popular Scarsdale family in Costa Rica on New Year’s Eve has had its services suspended by aviation officials in South America.

Nature Air has been grounded, with its operations suspended until further notice by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation in Costa Rica, following the holiday crash that took the lives of 50-year-old Bruce Steinberg, 51-year-old Irene Steinberg and their teenage sons, Matthew, William and Zachary of Scarsdale.

A single-engine Cessna plane crashed into a mountain in the province of Guanacaste while en route to Punita Islita, a beach resort on the Pacific coast, claiming the lives of the 10 passengers a pilot and tour guide, according to officials. Backroads Active Travel, which provides international trips, tours and activities for their customers has since been on the ground, attempting to determine what went wrong with the Nature Air flight that struck the mountain.

Seven others died in the crash, including a pilot and guide with Nature Air.

“We are extremely heartbroken over this horrific loss of life and are working with the local authorities to understand the cause of the crash,” the company said in a statement. “We have our entire Costa Rica team and a member of our executive team on the ground to assist in this tragedy.”

Backroads proceeded to cancel all its future flights with Nature Air, before the charter company was grounded by officials, though they may be back in the air shortly, according to a report in the Costa Rica Star this week.

"This tragedy hits our community very hard. Bruce, Irene and their children have been devoted members of Westchester Reform Temple since 2001, and have also been engaged in the wider Jewish community, through their involvement in organizations including the UJA-Federation of New York, AJC (American Jewish Committee), and Seeds of Peace," Rabbi Jonathan Blake stated. "I know there will be much more to say in the coming days, and that so many of us want to do everything we can to express our grief and to show our support for their bereaved family."

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