A small charter plane traveling from the coastal town of Punta Islita to San Jose, Costa Rica, crashed Monday morning, killing all 12 people on board.
The plane crashed into a forested region in the province of Guanacaste minutes after the pilot took of. The impact and subsequent blaze killed the 10 U.S. citizens and two Costa Rican pilots, the government reported.
The aircraft was operated by local plane charter company Nature Air, which lamented the incident. Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica's Civil Aviation Agency, does not know what caused the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan to go down.
Cubillo said the plane had passed all inspections several months ago, but said that strong winds in the area required the pilots to alter their initial course.
The flight was part of a two-plane caravan hired to take 20 people back to San Jose. The first plane, which also carried 10 passengers, arrived in San Jose at 11:40 a.m.
Costa Rican Security Ministry video footage of the crash indicates that the impact consumed the vessel and scattered it through the forest.
One of the deceased pilots was the cousin of former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.
The U.S. State Department confirmed that all passengers were U.S. citizens, but would not release any names until their family members are directly notified.
"There are no people alive," Costa Rica's Security Minister Gustavo Mata said, adding that autopsies are still necessary to confirm the total number of victims and their identities because the remains of those killed are badly burned.