German gym outlets CEO confirmed dead after Costa Rica crash

BERLIN (AP) — The founder and CEO of the RSG Group of gym outlets, Rainer Schaller, has been confirmed dead after the crash off a small plane off Costa Rica late last month, the company said Friday.

The plane, a nine-seat Italian-made Piaggio P180 Avanti, disappared from radar just off the Central American country’s Caribbean coast on Oct. 21. RSG Group, whose outlets include Gold’s Gym and McFit, confirmed shortly afterward that Schaller, family and friends had been on board.

On Friday, it said in a statement that “today, it is with great dismay that we share the news that Rainer Schaller and his son have been identified as the deceased from the plane crash off the coast of Costa Rica.”

“His life partner, her daughter, our colleague and the pilot, who were also on board, are still among the missing,” it added.

The aircraft disappeared from radar as it was heading to Limon, a resort town on the coast. Costa Rica’s security ministry said the flight had set out from Mexico.

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

Schaller was born in 1969 in the southern German city of Bamberg and set up his first gym in Wuerzburg in 1997. The RSG Group is a conglomerate of 21 fitness, lifestyle and fashion brands that operates in 48 countries and has 41,000 employees, either directly or through franchises.

In 2010, he was in the news as an organizer of the Love Parade techno festival. A mass panic at the event in the German city of Duisburg killed 21 people and injured more than 500. Schaller himself did not face investigation over the disaster, and a trial of people who were accused of planning and security failures was closed without a verdict in 2020.

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