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No Survivors in Costa Rica Crash

August 28, 2000

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) _ Rescuers confirmed Sunday that all 10 people on board a small plane that slammed into a volcano in northern Costa Rica were killed, airline officials said. Three Americans were among the dead.

About 200 rescue workers who climbed the lava- and rock-littered side of Arenal volcano found the wreckage of the 15-seat, single-engine Cessna Grand Caravan plane, owned by National Aerial Services, or Sansa. The plane had gone down Saturday.

A Sansa spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the rescuers working 60 miles north of the capital, San Jose, found the bodies of the plane’s two Costa Rican pilots and eight foreign passengers. Because of bad weather the bodies would not be recovered until Monday.

Six of the eight passengers were Steven Bohmer, Helena Bohmer, and Christopher Damia of the United States; Canadian Terry Pratt; and Silvia Rhissiner and Catherine Shoep of Switzerland, said Sansa official Eveleyn Saldana. The pilot and co-pilot were identified as Karl Acevedo Nevermann, 22, and William Bobadilla.

Saldana said the airline would release the names and nationalities of the two remaining victims after their relatives had been contacted. The hometowns of the U.S. victims were not given.

Two bodies were found inside the airplane, according to the Red Cross. Television footage showed other bodies scattered on the ground.

The plane was between the northern region of La Fortuna, where the mile-high volcano is located, and Tamarindo, a beach town on the Pacific coast, when air traffic controllers lost contact about 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The flight originated in San Jose at 12:15 p.m., stopping briefly in the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, where Japanese passenger Masaru Hamatani, 52, got off, officials said.

Red Cross spokesman Jorge Jimenez said the destroyed plane was spotted 100 yards beneath the volcano’s crater.

The crash site was in an area that normally takes about three hours to reach on foot from the nearest village, Jimenez said. He said the trek was made more difficult Sunday because the area was still littered with hot lava and rocks from an eruption of the volcano last Wednesday.

Rescue workers on Saturday climbed the nearby Chato mountain after receiving an emergency signal from the plane that seemed to be coming from that area. They changed their route Sunday after rescue planes spotted the wreckage on the volcano.

The airplane was manufactured in 1998 and had 792 hours of flight time, said Sansa spokesman Olman Fonseca.

Saturday’s crash was apparently the second deadly encounter in less than a week with the Arenal volcano. A tour guide died on Thursday from injuries suffered while hiking when the volcano erupted.

A 43-year-old Boston woman and her 8-year-old daughter, who were hiking with the guide, were flown to a hospital in Texas for treatment of second- and third-degree burns from the falling lava and rocks. The volcano has been active since 1968.

Update hourly