Gold’s Gym parent company confirms CEO was on crashed plane

A press representative for the RSG Group of gym stores including Gold’s Gym and McFit confirmed on Monday that founder and CEO Rainer Schaller, family and friends were aboard a small plane that disappeared from radar just off the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. (Chris D Swab, Shutterstock)

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — A press representative for the RSG Group of fitness stores, 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 the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Company spokeswoman Kristen Kaufmann released a statement Monday confirming that Rainer Schaller, “his family and two other people were on board the plane at the time of the crash.”

The company did not confirm Schaller’s death, although searchers found two bodies, luggage and parts of the plane in the sea.

“We are shocked, stunned and saddened by this tragic incident,” RSG said in a statement. “The news of the last few days has shaken us deeply and our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

“As the situation is currently still being investigated on the ground, we are unable to comment further at this time and ask for your understanding.”

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

On Sunday, Costa Rica’s Security Ministry said the bodies of an adult and a child had been found at a site about 17 miles offshore from Limón airport, but said the bodies had not yet been identified.

Searchers also found backpacks and bags, as well as parts of the plane.

All five passengers were German citizens. The pilot of the plane is Swiss.

Costa Rican authorities said parts of the twin-engine turboprop plane were found in the water on Saturday after the plane went missing on Friday.

The aircraft was a nine-seater Italian Piaggio P180 Avanti, known for its distinctive profile. It disappeared from radar while heading for Limon, a resort town on the coast.

The Ministry of Security said the flight had departed from Mexico.

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

Schaller countered the allegations of wrongdoing by noting that his security concept had received official approval from the city.

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