Gold’s Gym Owner Rainer Schaller’s Plane Crashes Off Costa Rican Coast | He, Wife, And Children Presumed Dead

German business magnate Rainer Schaller, who co-owns Gold’s Gym, was aboard a plane that disappeared on Friday, according to reports. Wreckage of an aircraft said to be Schaller’s was found early Saturday morning along with two bodies that have yet to be identified.

According to the flight manifest from Shaller’s plane, he, his partner Christiane Schikorsky, their two minor children and a reported fitness trainer are listed as the five passengers aboard.

The plane, a Piaggio P.180 Avanti, went missing about 20 miles off the coast on its way to the airport of Limon, a port city on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. The aircraft took off from Palenque, a Mexican city popular with tourists for its archaeological ruins, two hours and 41 minutes before it lost communication with the guiding control tower near Limón.

Costa Rica’s Minister of Public Security Jorge Torres Carillo tweeted about the incident on his verified account Saturday that the private plane was carrying a “foreign crew” and that two bodies have been recovered.

“We deeply regret the accident suffered by a foreign crew in Limón while traveling on board a private aircraft. Since @securitycrc We made a great effort to locate the remains of the jet. Two of the victims have already been found and we continue to work on the site.”

The search is still underway for the remaining passengers, some luggage and other items have been collected during the search.

Schaller, presumed dead, was 53 and Founder CEO of the RSG Group, which includes the McFit, John Reed and Gold’s Gym fitness studios. He opened his first McFit brand fitness studio in Würzburg, Germany in 1997.

By 2006, McFit was operating 62 fitness studios in Germany with a combined 400,000 members and 1,000 permanent employees. In 2011, McFit was the largest fitness studio operator in Europe, with more than 1 million members.

According to the National Travel and Safety Board (NTSB), the fatality rate for private aircraft is significantly higher per 100,000 flight hours than commercial aircraft. Among the reasons for the increased risk with private flights is private pilot’s lack of experience. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that all commercial airline pilots have a minimum of 1,500 flight hours to obtain an airline transport pilot certificate; however, an individual only needs 40 hours of flight time to get a private pilot license.

There are also fewer safety regulations in place for private planes than commercial. For example, private planes do not have to follow the same strict takeoff and landing procedures as commercial planes. Private planes also don’t undergo the same maintenance rigors as commercial planes.

Locations and destinations also play a factor in the increased risk of private flights. Private planes take off and land at smaller airports, which can have shorter runways and antiquated landing equipment. Private planes are also more likely to be flying to remote locations that are not served by commercial airlines. If and when trouble arises, it is difficult for a pilot to find help if something goes wrong.

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