BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Johns Hopkins University has confirmed that one of the 10 U.S. citizens killed in a plane crash in Costa Rica on Sunday was a Johns Hopkins student.
Costa Rican officials say the plane — which was also carrying two pilots — was headed to San José, Costa Rica when it crashed into a mountain.
Zachary Steinberg was a second-year student in the Whiting School of Engineering. Zachary’s parents, Bruce and Irene, along with his brothers, Matthew and William, were also killed in the crash.
Bruce Steinberg’s sister, Tamara Steinberg-Jacobson, spoke to WJZ’s Ava-joye Burnett over the phone.
“They were an exceptional family. My brother, his wife and the kids truly impacted everywhere they went,” she said.
Zachary was active in a Jewish organization on campus, and he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The Hub, a Johns Hopkins publication, said he was scheduled to go on a trip to Israel this week.
The university sent the following message to students after learning of Zachary’s death:
We are deeply saddened to inform you of the death of Zachary Steinberg, a second-year student in the Whiting School of Engineering. Zachary died in a plane crash in Costa Rica earlier today. Tragically, Zach’s parents, Irene and Bruce, and his two brothers, Matthew and William, were also on board and died in the crash.
On behalf of the entire Johns Hopkins community, we offer our deepest sympathies to the relatives and friends of the Steinberg family. We will provide information on memorial arrangements when it becomes available.
Actively engaged in many aspects of JHU, Zach was studying chemical and biomolecular engineering, involved with Hillel, a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and an officer in Engineers without Borders. We know his loss will deeply impact many members of our community. If you would like to express your condolences, you may write an email or letter to “The Family of Zachary Steinberg” and send it to the Office of the Dean of Student Life in the Mattin Center, Suite 210. We will collect these messages on behalf of the family’s relatives.
The university says it will be collecting condolence letters for the Steinberg family, which will be sent to their relatives.
The director of Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Agency said the plane passed a safety inspection about a month ago and it was allowed to fly.
Zachary and his family were from Scarsdale, New York.
A neighbor called the loss devastating.
“They’re great people, and the kids are great, and I feel like they’re the family you want to emulate,” Lisa Flicker said.
Former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla said one of the pilots who died was her cousin.
The National Transportation Safety Board is assisting Costa Rica with the investigation into what caused the charter aircraft to crash shortly after takeoff.