Bridgewater Associates executive Bruce Steinberg and his family were among 10 Americans killed when a charter plane crashed into a mountain in Costa Rica on Sunday.
“The Bridgewater family lost Bruce Steinberg (a senior investor at Bridgewater and a wonderful man) and his family,” Ray Dalio, the founder of the Westport, Connecticut-based hedge fund, said in a statement on social media Monday. “Right now, we are each processing this devastating tragedy in our own ways. At this time I will be devoting my attentions to doing this and helping others.”
Steinberg, his wife Irene, and their sons William, Zachary and Matthew were aboard the single-engine plane when it crashed in the northwestern province of Guanacaste shortly after takeoff, according to the New York Times. Other people in the Cessna operated by Nature Air included four members of a family from Florida, another American and two Costa Rican crew members, the newspaper said. All died.
Steinberg, 50, was a senior member of Bridgewater’s research team, according to a company spokeswoman. Prior to joining the hedge fund, he had worked at several banks including UBS AG, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG, Finra records show.
The Steinbergs were from Scarsdale, New York. Matthew was an eighth grader in private school, and his older brothers were both in college — William at the University of Pennsylvania and Zachary at Johns Hopkins University.
Authorities in Costa Rica said strong winds were reported in the area of the crash and were being examined as a possible factor in what happened, according to the Associated Press.
“No possibility can be left out for certain,” the AP quoted Michael Soto, deputy director of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation agency, as saying. “We have two aspects: The principal one would be some weather condition and if there was a mechanical issue.”
In another crash involving a small aircraft, Compass Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Richard Cousins and four members of his close family were killed when a seaplane crashed into the Hawkesbury River in Sydney.
At a news conference Sunday the director of Costa Rica Civil Aviation said the Nature Air charter crashed shortly after taking off from Punta Islita on a planned flight to the capital of San Jose, according to the AP.
The Steinbergs were active in philanthropy and the local Jewish community, Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale wrote in a statement on its Facebook page. They were involved with the UJA-Federation of New York, the AJC Jewish advocacy organization and Seeds of Peace. They also were members of the Sunningdale Country Club.
“This tragedy hits our community very hard,” Blake wrote.