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Gold’s Gym owner was on plane with 5 others when it crashed off Costa Rica

The company did not confirm his death. Searchers have found two bodies, luggage and pieces of the aircraft in the sea.
22 May 2018, Germany, Duesseldorf: Rainer Schaller, owner at the time of the Loveparade event organizer Lopavent, standing in the courtroom of the branch of the Duisburg district court. The Loveparade trial is being continued here. 21 young people lost their lives in a stampede at the techno-parade on 24 July 2010 in Duisburg.
Rainer Schaller appears in court in Düsseldorf, Germany, on May 22, 2018.Rolf Vennenbernd / picture-alliance/dpa/AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — The RSG Group of gym outlets, including Gold’s Gym and McFit, confirmed Monday that founder and CEO Rainer Schaller, family and friends were aboard a small plane that disappeared from radar just off Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.

The company issued a statement confirming that Rainer Schaller, “his family, and two other people were on board the aircraft at the time of the crash.”

The company did not confirm his death, despite the fact searchers have found two bodies, luggage and pieces of the aircraft in the sea.

“We are shocked, stunned, and full of grief about this tragic accident,” the RSG statement read. “The news during the last few days has shaken us deeply, and our thoughts are with the family in these difficult hours.”

“As the situation is currently still being investigated on-site, we cannot comment further at this time and ask for your understanding.”

Schaller is listed as “Founder, Owner and CEO of the RSG Group,” a conglomerate of 21 fitness, lifestyle and fashion brands that operates in 48 countries and has 41,000 employees, either directly or through franchises.

On Sunday, Costa Rica’s Security Ministry said the bodies of one adult and one child had been found at a site about 17 miles (28 kilometers) off the coast from the Limon airport, but said the bodies had not yet been identified.

Searchers also turned up backpacks and bags, and pieces of the plane.

All five passengers were German citizens. The plane’s pilot was Swiss.

Costa Rican authorities said pieces of the twin-engine turboprop aircraft were found in the water Saturday, after the flight went missing Friday.

The plane was a nine-seat Italian-made Piaggio P180 Avanti, known for its distinctive profile. It disappeared from radar as it was heading to Limon, a resort town on the coast.

The security ministry said the flight had set out from Mexico.

Schaller was in the news in 2010 for his role as organizer of the Berlin Love Parade techno festival. A crush at the event killed 21 people and injured more than 500. Authorities at the time said Schaller’s security failed to stop the flow of people into a tunnel when the situation was already tense at the entrance to the festival grounds.

Schaller fought back against the accusations of wrongdoing, noting that his security concept received official city approval.