Wisconsin Woman Among 10 Killed in Costa Rica Plane Crash

Coaches and teammates are mourning the death of former University of Wisconsin-Stout basketball standout and Thorp, Wisconsin, native Amanda Geissler.

The California-based adventure travel company Backroads has confirmed that Geissler was one of 10 Americans killed in a charter plane crash Sunday in Costa Rica. Two crew members also died. [[467480843, C]]

Geissler was a guide for Backroads. She was a point guard at Wisconsin-Stout from 2003-07. Head coach Mark Thomas tells KSTP-TV that Geissler is remembered for never being afraid of anything and never accepting failure.

Former assistant coach Erin Sullivan says Geissler wanted to travel and live a life filled with adventure.

Thomas said a number of Geissler's former teammates were gathering Monday to remember her.

The other U.S. citizens who died in the plane crash were part of a tour organized by Backroads. Included in the group was a family of five from Scarsdale, New York, as well as a family of four from Florida. 

At a news conference, Enio Cubillo, director of Costa Rica Civil Aviation, said the Nature Air charter flight took off just after noon Sunday from Punta Islita and was headed for the capital of San Jose when it crashed.

Cubillo said the cause was under investigation.

He identified the pilot as Juan Manuel Retana and described him as very experienced. Former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said via Twitter that Retana was her cousin.

The same plane had arrived in Punta Islita on Sunday morning from San Jose and was delayed in landing by strong winds, Cubillo said.

Nature Air did not respond to phone and email messages.

The Public Safety Ministry posted photographs and video of the crash site showing the burning wreckage of the plane in Guanacaste, in northwest Costa Rica.

Costa Rican investigators said strong winds or mechanical problems most likely caused the crash.

"No possibility can be left out for certain," said Michael Soto, deputy director of Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation agency. "We have two aspects: The principle one would be some weather condition and if there was a mechanical issue."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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