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Friends of 19-year-old killed in plane crash on New Year's Eve say 'cherish those around you'

Pinellas family killed in Costa Rica plane crash
Posted at 11:13 PM, Jan 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-02 06:57:12-05

BELLEAIR, Fla. —  A family of four from Pinellas County died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve while on vacation in Costa Rica.

The Weiss family were among 12 people killed in the crash. NTSB officials say they will assist in the investigation.

Related: 10 Americans killed in Costa Rica plane crash

Dr. Mitchell Weiss was a radiologist at Morton Plant Hospital and his wife, Dr. Leslie Weiss, worked as a pediatrician. Their two children 19-year-old Hannah Weiss and 16-year-old Ari Weiss were also killed.

Related: Tampa Bay family among 12 killed in plane crash in Costa Rica

Hannah's friends said she loved exploring the world's beauty and saw the best in everyone.

"I'm still in shock. I want to pick up the phone and call her," said family friend Ezra Bobo.

The Dean at Columbia University sent a memo to students saying: 

"It is with deep sadness that I write to share with you the passing of Hannah Weiss, a second year student in the undergraduate Joint Program between Columbia University School of General Studies and List College at the Jewish Theological Seminary."

Hannah studied sustainable development and Jewish ethics in the program.

"The biggest tragedy, she didn't get to live to realize that dream on the scale that she wanted. I hope that we can help that legacy live on," said friend AJ Yablonsky.

The family was active at Congregation B'nai Israel of St. Petersburg. Dean Hershkowitz said, "this family was so bright and kind and will be missed by so many."

Details on funeral or memorial arrangements have not been announced.

Friends of Hannah said they hope everyone starts the new year by cherishing those around them.

"You never know how much time you're going to have with somebody and to treasure every moment," said Bobo.