Juan Manuel Retana was in command of the Nature Air airplane that fell this Sunday afternoon in the mountainous area of Bejuco en Corazalito de Nandayure, Guanacaste.
The downed aircraft, that left 12 dead (ten foreigners and two Costa Rican pilots), was one of two small planes that left Punta Islita to with tourists headed for the Juan Santamaria airport in San Jose.
The aircraft, with the tail letters TI-BEI left Punta Islita, on the Pacific coast, at 12:10 pm, ten minutes later the fall of the aircraft was reported.
The first aircraft, TI-BBC, had left Islita at 11:00 am and arrived at the Juan Santamaria at 11:40 am.
TI-(xxx) is the Costa Rica aircraft registration prefix.
Ennio Cubillo, director of Civil Aviation, during a press conference, explained Retana had reported gusts of wind caused the pilot to opt for the Tambor airfield, to wait for them to decrease. Once informed of an improvement in conditions, Retana retook the flight plan to Islita. There he picked up the passengers and took off for the flight to San Jose.
Cubillo assured that the aircraft was certified to navigate and rejected that there is any relationship between the crash and an investigation of the company months ago, confirming that the aircraft went through the proper inspection a month ago.
According to a statement by Nature Air, the 10 American tourists were identified as Thibault Astruc, Amanda Geissler, Charles Palmer, Bruce Steinberg, Irene Steinberg, Matthew Steinberg, William Steinberg, Zachary Steinberg, Leslie Weiss and Sherry Wuu.
Accompanying Retana in the flight cabin was pilot Emma Ramos.
Nature Airt, in a statement, said, “In total 20 passengers were traveling from Punta Islita to San Jose, the group was divided into two flights.”
The downed aircraft was a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan turboprop, manufactured in the United States.
Civil Aviation is investigating the causes of the crash.
On Facebook, President Luis Guillermo Solis lamented the tragedy.