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Relatives and friends are mourning the deaths of 10 Americans, including two families, killed in a New Year’s Eve plane crash in Costa Rica. The dead included two doctors from Clearwater, Florida, and their two children, and a couple from the New York suburb of Scarsdale who were traveling with their three sons. Another victim was 33-year-old Amanda Geissler, a travel guide who led families on tours of Costa Rica, her family said. Drs. Mitchell and Leslie Weiss were on the plane with their children Hannah and Ari, according to a rabbi at the synagogue they attended.
Mitchell Weiss was a vascular and interventional radiologist and his wife, Leslie, was a pediatrician and neonatal hospitalist, their employers said. “Mitch was a tremendously skilled interventional radiologist who will be sorely missed by his partners, his medical team and the patients whose lives he touched. It was an honor to practice medicine with him,” said Dr. John Fisher, president of Radiology Associates of Clearwater. “We all grieve for the tragic loss of not only Mitch but his wife, Leslie, and his children, Hannah and Ari.” “This is a tragic event for their family, for our congregation and synagogue community as well as the Pinellas County community. They will be sorely missed,” said Rabbi Jacob Luski of Congregation b’Nai Israel of St. Petersburg.
Bruce and Irene Steinberg and their three children, Zachary, William, and Matthew were also killed. They were congregants at Scarsdale Westchester Reform Temple, Rabbi Jonathan Blake wrote in a statement posted on facebook. “This tragedy hits our community very hard. Bruce, Irene and their children have been devoted members of WRT since 2001.” the statement said. The Facebook post does not include the family members’ ages.
It says the Steinbergs were active in Jewish organizations in the community and were “cherished members” of the Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale. “They’re just loving people,” their neighbor, Susan Adler, said, “When I moved in, she was very welcoming, brought me a cake, offered her friendship, and it’s just devastating news.” Another neighbor, Lisa Flicker, told WCBS it doesn’t feel real. “It’s so devastating because they’re great people, and the kids are great, and I feel like they’re the family you look to to emulate,” Flicker said. Geissler’s family said she had an adventurous spirit and lived life with no regrets. “Amanda’s love for the outdoors, setting goals and crushing them, and adoration for her family and friends are like no other,” the family’s statement said. “She is loved by many, and with a heavy heart it will be hard to say goodbye. If Amanda could leave us all with one thing it would be write down whatever it is you want to do … and make it happen. “Also killed in the crash of the single-engine turboprop were the two Costa Rican pilots, President Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera said in a statement posted on social media. One of the pilots was the cousin of former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, she said on her Twitter account.
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