Bridgewater executive and family among 12 dead in Costa Rica plane crash

  • Bridgewater Associates executive Bruce Steinberg and his family were among 12 dead in a Costa Rica plane crash on Sunday.
  • Steinberg was a senior researcher at the firm, the world's largest hedge fund.
  • Costa Rican authorities say strong winds or mechanical failure are likely causes.

Bridgewater Associates senior researcher Bruce Steinberg and his family were among 12 who died in a plane crash in Costa Rica on Sunday.

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio noted the loss on his Facebook page, calling Steinberg a "wonderful man."

"Right now, we are each processing this devastating tragedy in our own ways," Dalio wrote. "At this time I will be devoting my attentions to doing this and helping others."

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Costa Rica plane crash kills 12, including American family of 5
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Costa Rica plane crash kills 12, including American family of 5
The tail of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed, rests near trees in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The remains of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed are seen in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The remains of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed, rests near trees in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The remains of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed are seen in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The remains of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed are seen in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The tail of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed is seen in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The tail of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed is seen in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The tail of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed is seen in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on December 31, 2017. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
The tail of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed is seen near trees in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on January 1, 2018. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died on December 31 when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Berny ARAYA (Photo credit should read BERNY ARAYA/AFP/Getty Images)
The tail of the burned fuselage of a small plane that crashed is seen near trees in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on January 1, 2018. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died on December 31 when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Berny ARAYA (Photo credit should read BERNY ARAYA/AFP/Getty Images)
View of the burned forest where a small plane crashed in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on January 1, 2018. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died on December 31 when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Civil Aviation investigator flies a drone to obtain information about why a small plane crashed the day before in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica on January 1, 2018. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died on December 31 when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
View of the Islita airport and the mountain where a small plane crashed in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica, on January 1, 2018. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died on December 31 when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) officials collect information, using a drone, to understand why a small plane crashed the day before in Guanacaste, Corozalito, Costa Rica, on January 1, 2018. Ten Americans flying from a vacation hotspot on Costa Rica's tropical Pacific coast died on December 31 when the small plane they had just boarded crashed and burst into flames shortly after take-off, officials in the country said. / AFP PHOTO / Ezequiel BECERRA (Photo credit should read EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view of a morgue in Heredia, Costa Rica, which is storing the bodies of the victims of a plane that crashed after takeoff from a popular beach resort in Costa Rica on Sunday, killing all 12 people aboard, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
A general view of a morgue in Heredia, Costa Rica, which is storing the bodies of the victims of a plane that crashed after takeoff from a popular beach resort in Costa Rica on Sunday, killing all 12 people aboard, January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
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Steinberg, his wife, Irene, their sons Matthew (14), William (19), and Zachary (20), along with another American family of four, an American tour guide, and two local pilots all died in the crash, leaving no survivors.

The families had taken a charter flight on a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan that crashed in a wooded area off the beach town of Punta Islita just minutes after takeoff, Costa Rican authorities told Reuters. The Journal News reported flight was en route to Costa Rica's capital, San Jose, where the Steinbergs had planned to celebrate the new year.

The US State Department and Costa Rican authorities are investigating the crash.

Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation agency deputy director Michael Soto told the Associated Press that "No possibility can be left out for certain," but that the two most likely causes are inclement weather or mechanical failure. Costa Rican authorities told the AP that there were strong winds during the time of the crash.

The Steinberg family lived in Scarsdale, New York, and were philanthropists and prominent members of their local Jewish community.

"They were wonderful people. We need a whole world of people like them," Steinberg's mother Diane told the New York Daily News.

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