Tragedy struck at the end of 2017 for a family from New York and their congregation. The lives of a couple from New York and their three sons were claimed by a small plane crash in Costa Rica. They were among a total of 12 people killed in the crash, reported CNN.
The couple as Bruce and Irene Steinberg, along with their three sons: Zachary, William, and Matthew. Their identities were confirmed by their Rabbi Jonathan Blake, who is the rabbi at Westchester Reform Temple.
Rabbi Blake shared the sad news in a post on the temple's Facebook page. He wrote about the couple:
"This tragedy hits our community very hard. Bruce, Irene and their children have been devoted members of WRT since 2001."
The Facebook post does not include the ages of the deceased family members. However, the rabbi did say the family was active in Jewish organizations in the community and "cherished members" of the Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale.
Costa Rican officials confirmed that of the 12 victims, 10 were American citizens. They have not released the victims' names.
Likewise, a spokesperson for the US State Department confirmed the deaths of "multiple US citizens."
The spokesperson extended the department's sorrow: "We express our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. We are in contact with Costa Rican aviation authorities and will continue to monitor the situation."
Along with the 10 passengers, two Costa Rican pilots also died in the crash. President Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera confirmed this in a statement posted on social media, adding that one of the pilots was the cousin of Costa Rican ex-President Laura Chinchilla.
Several images of the crash were posted to Costa Rica's Ministry of Public Security page. It is not immediately clear what caused the crash.
"Authorities said Sunday they were focusing on recovering the victims' bodies and would begin an investigation into the cause of the crash first thing Monday," said CNN.
The plane took off from the Punta Islita Airport at 12:10 p.m. Sunday. It was bound for Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. Officials received reports of the crash around 12:20 p.m.–a mere 10 minutes after takeoff.
Costa Rica's President expressed his condolences via Twitter.
He 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," Solis said.
Please pray for the families of everyone involved in the crash! Unfortunately, this wasn't the only New Year's Eve tragedy. Several people are dead after a teen opened fire.