A desperate search is underway after a private plane vanished while carrying a millionaire and his family.
German millionaire Rainer Schaller, 53, was understood to be on a flight from Mexico to Limon with his girlfriend, Christiane Schikorsky, and their children Aaron and Finja, last night when the plane disappeared off the coast of Costa Rica.
The founder of McFit, a fitness centre chain in Germany, was also on the Piaggio 180 jet with a man named Marcus Kurreck, who is believed to be a personal trainer.
Costa Rica’s public security minister, Jorge Torres, has since said the aircraft that was carrying the five German nationals vanished while on its way to Juan Santamaría airport in the east of the country.
The plane reportedly lost contact with the airport’s control tower at 6pm while it was flying around 20 miles off the coast near the Parismina area, the Sun reports.
A McFit spokeswoman has since confirmed Schaller and his family were on the plane, it’s been reported.
“We don’t know anymore at the moment,” Jeanine Minaty told German website BILD.
The private plane took off from Palenque in Mexico two hours and 41 minutes before it lost contact with the control tower near Limon.
And according to FlightRadar, the plane was 69 metres above sea level and flying at a speed of 274mph when it disappeared.
An urgent rescue operation was called off a few hours later due to adverse weather conditions.
The National Coast Guard and the Air Surveillance Service then resumed their search today and reportedly found parts of the twin-engine turboprop aircraft in the sea.
Martin Arias, Costa Rica’s assistant security minister, said no bodies had been located yet, as reported by ABC News.
“Pieces have been found that indicate that this is the aircraft,” he said.
“Up to now we have not found any bodies dead or alive.”
McFit, founded by Schaller in 1996, has more than 250 studios in Europe alongside 1.4million members.
In 2010, 21 people died and over 500 were injured in a stampede at the Berlin Love Parade techno festival that Schaller organised, with the millionaire later confirming the festival would be permanently banned.
Schaller reportedly denied any accusations of wrongdoing and instead noted that his security concept had received official city approval.