News"McFit" founder and family missing: aviation expert refers to...

"McFit" founder and family missing: aviation expert refers to "unusual" stopover

Created: 10/26/2022 8:47 am

Five German citizens die in an accident off the coast of Costa Rica, including the entrepreneur Rainer Schaller. The search for the cause and other victims is ongoing.

  • The flight route of the unfortunate pilot raises questions : the expert refers to an “unusual” stopover and route
  • Mourning for McFit millionaire Schaller : “We are shocked, stunned and saddened by the tragic accident”
  • Plane accident off Costa Rica: McFit founder Rainer Schaller missing.
  • This news ticker is continuously updated.

Update from October 26, 7.46 a.m .: On the way from Mexico to Costa Rica, a private jet disappears from the radar. McFit millionaire Rainer Schaller, four passengers and the pilot were on board. Search teams discover wreckage and personal luggage one day after the crash in the sea. Then the authorities report the discovery of two bodies. It should be that of an adult and a child.

The plane crash shortly before landing raises many questions. On impact, the Piaggio P-180 Aventi II, registration number D-IRSG, did not transmit an emergency signal. That alone makes the authorities suspicious.

Private jet flight route raises questions: expert refers to “unusual” stopover and route

The flight route is also unusual. A South American aviation expert cannot explain a stopover of 50 minutes in Palenque Mexico. From there, the machine takes off and then disappears from the radar. The expert finds a detour in this flight route conspicuous, as reported by . As can be seen on the Flugradar24 map, the plane only takes the direct flight route to Limón International Airport at Chipas – 25 minutes after take-off. That would be a detour and unusual for the flight expert who would be familiar with this area.

The pilot (66) from Switzerland is said to have been alone in the cockpit. According to the expert, this is also “unusual”. “I don’t know anyone who would fly this route without a co-pilot,” the news portal quoted the expert as saying.

Flugzeug vor Costa Rica vermisst
A plane with five German passengers has disappeared – it was on the way from Mexico to Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. © -/ /dpa

“McFit” founder and family missing: crash off Costa Rica – evidence of “violent impact”

Update from October 25, 9.31 a.m .: After the tragic plane crash of entrepreneur Rainer Schaller and his family members, the search for the other occupants is ongoing. So far, only the bodies of an adult and a child have been found.

RTL quotes the Costa Rican security minister, “that the search is difficult because of the strong currents,” according to the portal. The search work has meanwhile also been extended to the sea area of the southeastern neighboring country of Panama, but initially without any results.

Investigators report that the impact of the private jet on the sea surface must have been “violent”, possibly the heavy engine pulled the plane down where the remains of the other occupants are suspected. Meanwhile, Bild quotes an acquaintance of the man who died: “Rainer was most happy to see the king penguins on Tierra del Fuego.”

Accordingly, after the planned landing in Costa Rica, it should continue to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. But on the way from Mexico to the provincial airport in Limón, the plane crashed into the sea. Due to technical problems? That is still unclear.

McFit founder Rainer Schaller died in an accident: Search extended to Panama

Update from October 25, 7:27 a.m .: There is still no trace of the missing McFit founder Rainer Schaller. Now the search for his crashed private plane has been expanded. Emergency services are now also looking for debris and people in Panamanian waters. That said Martín Arias, Director of the Costa Rican Coast Guard.

Der Unternehmer Rainer Schaller ist bei einer Flugreise durch Zentralamerika tödlich verunglückt
Entrepreneur Rainer Schaller died in an accident while flying through Central America. © Sven Simon, Reichwein/Imago

But the search has so far been unsuccessful. However, around 60 emergency services will continue as long as necessary, it said. The weather offered hope of finding something. The conditions for the search teams were better than in the previous days, said Public Safety Minister Jorge Torres.

Mourning for McFit millionaire Schaller: “Shocked, stunned and full of sadness”

Update from October 24, 3:01 p.m .: McFit founder Rainer Schaller (53) is still missing. The bad weather in Costa Rica makes the search for the missing people difficult. In Germany there is deep dismay after the plane crash. Especially in the fitness company RSG Group, which was founded by Schaller.

“We are shocked, stunned and saddened by the tragic accident,” said company spokeswoman Jeanine Minaty on Monday in Berlin. She confirmed “that Rainer Schaller, his family and two other people were on board the aircraft at the time of the crash”.

“The news of the last few days has shocked us deeply and our thoughts are with the relatives in these difficult hours,” said the company spokeswoman. She did not provide any further information, citing the ongoing investigations.

Update from October 24, 9.45 a.m .: After the crash of a private plane with five German passengers off the coast of Costa Rica, the search for the victims continues. On Sunday, the search parties could not recover any more dead or remains of the crashed machine, the newspaper La Nación reported, citing the Ministry of Public Security. “The weather conditions made the search difficult today,” the statement said. The search should continue on Monday.

So far, the emergency services have been able to recover the bodies of an adult and a child. The authorities in Costa Rica did not initially say who the victims were. As reported by the AFP news agency, citing a source in the Ministry of Public Security, the German McFit founder Rainer Schaller and his family are said to have been on board.

McFit-Gründer Rainer Schaller
McFit founder Rainer Schaller is said to have been on board a plane that crashed in Costa Rica. (Archive image) © Marius Becker/dpa

Cause of the crash still unclear: Expert believes engine failure is possible

The reason for the plane crash in the Caribbean is still unclear. The pilot never reported any difficulties in contact with the air traffic controllers. Because of the small size of the private jet, a flight recorder on board was not mandatory, said aviation director Fernando Naranjo on Canal 6 TV. Investigators still hope that the analysis of the debris can provide information about the cause of the crash.

The German aviation expert Heinrich Großbongardt suspects a technical problem behind the plane crash. The course of the flight seemed controlled, but before the crash the pilot flew a 90-degree turn. “An engine may have failed,” said Großbongardt of the picture .

Plane crash in the Caribbean: Hope for survivors is low

Update from October 23, 3:45 p.m .: As the Costa Rican broadcaster NCR announced, citing the Ministry of Public Safety in Costa Rica, the nationality of the pilot is now also known. Accordingly, it is a 66-year-old Swiss. In addition, the fifth passenger on the crashed plane, alongside McFit millionaire Rainer Schaller, his girlfriend and their two children, is said to be a 40-year-old man. It was not initially known what connection he had with the family.

In the meantime, there is little hope that there will be any survivors after the plane crash, in addition to the two bodies that have already been recovered. The director of the coast guard, Martín Arias, said on Saturday (local time) on the Canal 6 television channel that it was practically impossible for anyone to have survived the crash. The Minister for Public Safety, Jorge Torres, also commented on the accident: “The impact was very strong. This is very painful for the country, we are in mourning.”

Plane accident off Costa Rica: McFit founder missing

Update from October 23, 12:35 p.m .: Search teams are still deployed off the coast of Costa Rica. McFit millionaire Rainer Schaller (53) and his family are considered missing. The German was traveling with someone on a private jet when radio contact suddenly broke off.

„McFit“-Gründer Rainer Schaller und seine Freundin Christiane Schikorsky sollen in Costa Rica vermisst werden (Archivbild, 2019).
“McFit” founder Rainer Schaller and his girlfriend Christiane Schikorsky are said to be missing in Costa Rica (archive image, 2019). © Eventpress Radke/Imago

The Piaggio P.180 Avanti light aircraft went missing from Mexico on Friday evening (local time) on its way to Costa Rica. As the plane approached Limón airport over the sea, communication was lost around 6 p.m. (local time), the authorities said. After the contact with the machine was lost, the emergency protocol with the coast guard and the air surveillance service was activated. According to local media, the pilot did not report an emergency and the machine did not send an emergency signal that would be sent automatically in the event of an impact.

As the image reports, Rainer Schaller is said to have gone online on WhatsApp for the last time – at 1.45 a.m. our time. However, it is not known whether he wrote a message.

Two bodies have so far been discovered by the search teams (see also update 8:37 a.m.). Wreckage and pieces of luggage had previously been found in the sea off the coast of Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Ministry of Public Safety released a photo with the personal belongings.

McFit-Gründer Rainer Schaller vermisst: Das Ministerium veröffentlicht Fotos von Gegenständen, die im Meer vor Costa Rica gefunden wurden.
McFit founder Rainer Schaller missing: The ministry publishes photos of objects found in the sea off Costa Rica. © Costa Rica Public Security Ministry/AP/dpa

Update from October 23, 8:37 a.m .: A private plane disappeared from the radar on the flight from Mexico to Costa Rica. Five passengers and the pilot are said to have been on board the Piaggio 180 machine. Apparently, the entrepreneur and McFit founder Rainer Schaller was on board with his partner and her children. The Foreign Office in Berlin initially did not provide any information on the identity of the passengers on the plane. A spokeswoman said the diplomatic mission in Costa Rica was in contact with authorities in the capital, San Jose, about the case.

“There were five passengers and one pilot on the plane — a total of six people,” Civil Aviation Authority director Fernando Naranjo said. “Based on the dates of birth, there were also two children among them.” According to reports from the television station Teletica, the US border guards also supported the search work with a reconnaissance aircraft.

Search teams found two bodies off the coast of Costa Rica on Saturday night. Costa Rican Public Safety Minister Jorge Torres said the dead bodies found in the Caribbean Sea were an adult and a child. Debris, seats and luggage had previously been discovered in the sea.

The machine has been missing since Friday evening. Communications were lost as the plane approached Limón airport over the sea, the security ministry said. “The plane disappeared from radar about 25 miles from Limón airport. The plane was due to land at 6:58 p.m., we lost it at an altitude of 2,000 feet,” Naranjo said. That’s around 600 meters.

Flugzeugabsturz vor Costa Rica: Die Küstenwache stellt Trümmerteile sicher.
Plane crash off Costa Rica: The Coast Guard secures debris. © Ezequiel Becerra/afp

Update from October 22, 8:39 p.m .: Emergency services discovered two dead people on the coast of Costa Rica. It is said to be the corpse of an adult and a child, as the television station Teletica reported on Saturday, citing the Ministry of Public Security. The identity of the two bodies is still unknown. It is therefore still unclear whether it is about the missing Germans.

Costa Rica: Debris found after contact with small plane was lost – “McFit” founder also missing

Update from October 22, 3:52 p.m .: Off the coast of Costa Rica, emergency services have found several pieces of debris in the sea. Parts of a fuselage, seats and a bag were sighted during a reconnaissance flight about 28 kilometers from Limón airport, TV channel Teletica reported on Saturday, citing the Central American country’s Ministry of Public Safety. There was initially no further information about the passengers.

Fünf deutsche werden vermisst. Unter ihnen soll der „McFit“-Gründer sein. Trümmerteile und zwei Leichen wurden an der Küste von Costa Rica gefunden.
The screenshot shows the plane’s route en route from Mexico to Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. ©

Costa Rica: contact with small plane broke off – “McFit” founder among missing people

Update from October 22, 2:08 p.m .: According to information from Bild am Sonntag , it is now known who the five occupants of the plane who have been missing since Friday are. It is said to be the multimillionaire and founder of the fitness chain “McFit”, Rainer Schaller. In addition, his girlfriend and her two children are on board. The fifth person is a man named Marcus K.

The spokeswoman for the “McFit” operator RSG-Group GmbH, Jeanine Minaty, confirmed this information to the image . “We don’t know any more at the moment,” he said. Contact with the private plane en route from Mexico to Costa Rica was lost on Friday. A search operation of the neighboring countries should be continued on Saturday. According to the picture , the machine is a private aircraft of the Piaggio 180 type.

In einem Flugzeug dieses Typs waren der „McFit“-Multimillionär und seine Familie vor Costa Rica unterwegs.
The “McFit” multi-millionaire and his family were traveling off Costa Rica in a plane of this type. © Markus Mainka/Imago

Five Germans missing off the coast of Costa Rica: contact with small aircraft broke off

First report from October 22nd: Puerto Limón – Five German passengers were on their way to Costa Rica. Contact suddenly broke off off the coast of the Caribbean state. The five Germans are considered missing.

Costa Rica: Contact with private plane breaks off – five German missing

The five missing people were on a private plane, it said on Saturday (October 22). The light aircraft was on its way from Mexico to Limón province airport on Friday when contact was lost at 6:00 p.m. (Saturday, 2:00 a.m. CEST), said Costa Rican Public Safety Minister Jorge Torres.

The machine suddenly lost its connection with the control tower at Barra de Parismina airport, and all measures were taken immediately to locate it, Torres said in a video published by his ministry.

Costa Rica: Search had to be stopped – further measures planned for Saturday

Because of the falling night and bad weather, the search was called off after a few hours. It should continue on Saturday.

Pictures of planes from Costa Rica had already caused consternation in April. A cargo plane broke in two on the runway. Twelve passengers were injured on a flight from Spain to Argentina. Shortly before Brazil, the plane encountered severe turbulence. Suitcases and bags, as well as food trays, were apparently also thrown through the cabin. (chd/AFP)

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