Nature Air Flight 9916
A Nature Air Cessna Caravan 208, similar to the crashed aircraft
|Date||31 December 2017|
|Summary||Impacted terrain after take-off|
|Site||15 km (10 mi) east of Playa Sámara in the Nandayure canton, Punta Islita, Costa Rica|
|Aircraft type||Cessna 208 Caravan|
|IATA flight No.||5C9916|
|ICAO flight No.||NRR9916|
|Call sign||NATUREAIR 9916|
|Flight origin||Punta Islita Airport, Punta Islita, Costa Rica|
|Destination||Juan Santamaría International Airport, San José, Costa Rica|
Nature Air Flight 9916  was a 40-minute chartered domestic passenger flight from Punta Islita Airport in Nandayure, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, to Costa Rica's capital San José that crashed on 31 December 2017 shortly after takeoff killing all 12 people onboard. The flight was operated by Costa Rican airline Nature Air using a Cessna 208 Caravan with 10 passengers, mostly tourists, and 2 crew members onboard. The plane crashed into mountainous terrain near the Punta Islita Airport.
The chartered passenger flight booked through Backroads Travel Company took off from the airport at Punta Islita, a renowned resort town in Costa Rica, at 12:10 p.m local time. It was carrying 10 tourists, including 2 American families and 2 local crew members. The flight was heading to Costa Rica's capital San José. The aircraft had arrived late in Punta Islita due to inclement weather conditions. It was forced to land in Tambor. 
Minutes later, the aircraft swayed to the left. It then rolled, the wing clipped trees, and the plane impacted terrain near the airport, exploded and burst into flames. The aircraft could not be contacted and was declared as missing. Approximately at 12:30 p.m, emergency services near the airport received reports that the aircraft had crashed into the woods. Emergency service sent 20 vehicles, including ambulances and 45 firefighters. Tourists and locals who saw the crash also rushed to the crash site and assisted the rescue operation.
Photos published from Costa Rica's Ministry of Public Security revealed that the aircraft was pulverized on impact. The fire chief of Nandayure, Hector Chavéz, stated that the scene was a "total destruction". It crashed in an inverted condition with no survivors. By 07:00 p.m local time, rescuers had recovered all the victims of the flight.
Passengers and crews
The victims were two families of American tourists, an American tour guide and two Costa Rican crew. Among the dead was the pilot, Captain Juan Manuel Retana, the cousin of Costa Rica's former president Laura Chinchilla. He had accrued a total of 15,000 flying hours. Before he joined Nature Air, he worked at Costa Rica's regional airline SANSA for 14 years. The other crew member was identified by the Costa Rican media as Emma Ramos. 
The Costa Rican Government opened an investigation into the cause of the crash on 1 January 2018. The investigation was conducted by Costa Rica DGAC. The United States National Transportation Safety Board was expected to assist the Costa Rican authorities in the investigation, as most of the passengers were of American origin.
In the initial stage of the investigation, investigators cited mechanical failure, human factors, and adverse weather condition as the cause of the crash.  Multiple reports gathered from eyewitnesses revealed that the weather conditions in Punta Islita were inclement. Gusts of 20 knots (37 kph or 23 mph) were reported. Another witness stated that the aircraft flew too low. Enio Cubillo, head of the Costa Rican DGAC, stated that the investigation of Flight 9916 would take months..
On 8 January 2018, Costa Rica's Organismo de Investigación Judicial (Judicial Investigation Organisation) raided the offices of Nature Air in Tobías Bolaños International Airport in Pavas and the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José. They also raided the offices of the Costa Rica Dirección General de Aviación Civil in La Uruca as part of the investigation of the crash. At least 30 agents participated in the operation with the objective to obtain files on the pilots and on the Cessna 208 Caravan as well as the identities of those in charge of the maintenance and whoever authorized the flight.
The crash highlighted the danger of privately chartered tourist passenger flights, causing concern among Costa Ricans who work in the tourism industry. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Fox News warned their readers about the danger of flying on privately chartered flights, indicating that they are not properly regulated. The former head of the National Transportation Safety Board also warned Americans not to fly on privately chartered flights in Costa Rica. Isabel Vargas, the president of the Costa Rican National Chamber of Tourism disputed the claims, as did the Costa Rican director of Civil Aviation, Ennio Cubillo, who called the claims that chartered flights are not subject to proper safety oversight irresponsible reporting.
- 2008 Aéreo Ruta Maya crash, Guatemala, also involved a Cessna 208 Caravan
- Missinippi Airways Cessna 208 crash, Canada
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