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A plane has crashed in Costa Rica, killing at least 12 people.

A plane crashed in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, in the Punta Islita area, December 31, 2017.

This image from the Costa Rica's Ministry of Public Security shows the wreckage from the crash.

A U.S. State Department official confirmed that multiple U.S. citizens had died, but said the agency would not provide further details out of respect for the affected families. According to Costa Rican authorities, 10 of those passengers were USA citizens.

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The light aircraft went down in the mountains of Guanacaste, northwest Costa Rica, with 10 foreigners and two crew members on board. It said the plane had taken off nearby. The spokesperson would not confirm the nationalities of those on board.

He identified the pilot as Juan Manuel Retana and described him as very experienced.

Solis said the government plans to open an investigation on Monday too look into the cause of the crash that left 12 people dead. "Our heart sank, we got some pain in our stomachs", Dawn Wolfe told ABC News.

Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica's civil aviation agency, said the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft operated by local company Nature Air had crashed minutes after take-off, but that officials had not yet determined the cause of the crash.


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