Gold’s Gym owner, 5 others feared dead after plane crash off coast of Costa Rica
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Authorities in Costa Rica have found two bodies in the search for six people, apparently including the German businessman behind Gold’s Gym, Rainer Schaller, who went missing when their small plane disappeared from radar just off the country’s Caribbean coast.
The Security Ministry said the bodies of one adult and one child had been found, but that the bodies had not yet been identified.
The Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security posted on Facebook on Friday saying a plane heading from Mexico to Limon, Costa Rica, lost contact with the control tower at Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaria International Airport at about 6 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) while flying over the northeastern Parismina area off the country’s Caribbean coast.
CNN was given access to a copy of the flight manifest by the Public Security Ministry. Schaller, a German national and business tycoon, along with four other German nationals and a pilot, were aboard the private flight on Friday, according to the manifest. Among the German nationals were Schaller’s partner, Christiane Schikorsky, and two minors.
According to Martin Arias, the vice president of the Ministry of Public Security, the coast guard conducted a search operation in the Caribbean Sea starting at 5 a.m. local time on Saturday, and at 5:50 a.m., the remains of an aircraft were found 28 kilometers from Costa Rica’s Limon Airport.
Arias said the Red Cross has been asked to assist with search and rescue operations.
Costa Rica’s Minister of Public Security Jorge Torres Carillo tweeted on his verified account Saturday that the private plane was carrying a “foreign crew” and that two bodies have been recovered.
The German Foreign Office told CNN it is aware of the situation and that the German Embassy in the Costa Rican capital of San José is in contact with local authorities for further clarification.
“The embassy also stands ready to provide consular assistance to the families of the persons affected,” the German Foreign Office said.
Schaller is the founder and CEO of the RSG Group, which includes McFit, John Reed and Gold’s Gym fitness studios.