Friends remember Pinellas Co. family killed in Costa Rica plane crash

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An entire Pinellas County family died when their sightseeing plane crashed in the mountains of Costa Rica.

One victim was a pediatrician. Her husband was a Radiologist.

The couple and their two teenage children died along with 8 others when the single-engine plane crashed 10 minutes into its flight.

In the Guanacaste mountains of Costa Rica, the burning wreckage of the “Nature Air” Cessna smolders in the forest.

Onboard, a New York family of 5 and the Weiss family of Belleair. Dead is Mitchell, his wife, Leslie, and their 2 kids, Hannah and Ari.

“He was a really good kid. He was really talented. Very smart,” said Noah Hirschfield, a friend of Ari’s through their synagogue. He added Ari excelled in school.

“He did theater at school. He did a lot of activities. He was really good at piano and guitar. He sings really good,” said Hirschfield.

The Hirschfields attended synagogue with the Weiss family. Coby Hirschfield said the news of the crash came as a horrible shock.

READ: USY organization remembers the Weiss Family

“It’s just like a major kick in the face. Your stomach drops. And you’re like, you can’t believe it real, like it’s really happening to you of all people,” said Coby Hirschfield.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s daughter, Jordan, was close with Hannah.

He writes, “They were good people and will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family and friends.”

Hannah was a student at Columbia in New York.

Facebook posts are streaming in, one classmate saying, “It’s going to be really tough at school without you.”

“They were all just having fun and then all of the sudden, the whole family is gone,” said Noah Hirschfield.

A memorial service is planned for Monday, Jan. 8. Details will be announced shortly.

Costa Rican authorities are trying to determine what caused this crash.

In all, 12 are dead, including an American guide and the two pilots.

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