THE millionaire CEO of McFit has been described as an “incredibly great person” by his friend Vitali Klitschko after he was killed in a plane crash.

German entrepreneur Rainer Schaller, 53, died when his private aircraft plunged into the Caribbean Sea near Costa Rica.

Vitali Klitschko paid tribute to his close pal of 20 years Rainer Schaller

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Vitali Klitschko paid tribute to his close pal of 20 years Rainer SchallerCredit: Christian Langbehn / BILD
Schaller, 53, was on board with his partner and two children

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Schaller, 53, was on board with his partner and two children
Debris from the plane has been recovered by the coastguard after the horror crash

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Debris from the plane has been recovered by the coastguard after the horror crashCredit: Televisora de Costa Rica

Schaller was on board with his partner Christine Schikorsky, two children and two others, including the pilot, when the Piaggio P.180 Avanti plummeted into the ocean.

So far, two of the six bodies – an adult and a child – have been found since the horror smash.

The twin-engine turboprop jet was heading from Mexico to Costa Rica on Friday when it disappeared from the air control radar.

Rescue crews were able to locate the plane early on Saturday about 28 kilometers from Costa Rica’s Limon Airport.

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Debris from the aircraft and backpacks have been recovered by the coastguard.

The eight-seater jet was built in 2009 and Schaller bought it in 2019.

Flight safety adviser Arthur Bayuk believes the pilot may have become “overwhelmed” as commercial flights have two people at the controls.

He told BILD: “The aircraft has an excellent safety record.

“The initial descent was controlled. Later, the individual pilot was probably overwhelmed.”

Schaller was pals with former boxing star Vitali Klitschko, who now serves as the Major of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

The pair were friends for two decades and had visited Vitali, 51, and his brother Wladimir in war-torn Ukraine just this month.

Vitali and Wladimir became advertising stars for McFit in 2008.

Schaller was the CEO of RSG Group, which includes McFit, John Reed and Gold’s Gym fitness studios.

It is understood his empire employed 41,000 people in 48 countries.

Klitschko said Schaller had planned to build a gym to support Ukraine as Putin’s invasion rages on.

McFit had been flying in the Piaggio P.180 from Mexico to Costa Rica when tragedy struck

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McFit had been flying in the Piaggio P.180 from Mexico to Costa Rica when tragedy struckCredit: Getty
The boxing star was pictured pranking Rainer at an awards ceremony in Berlin in 2017

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The boxing star was pictured pranking Rainer at an awards ceremony in Berlin in 2017Credit: Christian Langbehn / BILD

The sportsman turned politician described Schaller as an “incredibly great person”, branding the plane crash an “unbelievable tragedy”.

He told BILD: “We met 20 years ago, became close friends and spent a lot of time together.

“Rainer only visited us in Kyiv at the beginning of October.

“He planned to build the largest gym in the world to support Ukraine in these difficult times.”

Schaller was also mates with Vitali’s brother Wladimir.

The pair were pictured beaming side by side at an awards ceremony in Berlin in 2017.

Authorities have yet to identify the two bodies so far recovered as crews search for the others.

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RSG Group said in a statement: “We are shocked, stunned, and full of grief about this tragic accident.

“The news during the last few days has shaken us deeply, and our thoughts are with the family in these difficult hours.”

Wladimir Klitschko and Rainer Schaller in 2017

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Wladimir Klitschko and Rainer Schaller in 2017Credit: Getty
Debris and backpacks have been recovered from the crash

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Debris and backpacks have been recovered from the crashCredit: The Mega Agency
Rescue crews have been searching for the other bodies

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Rescue crews have been searching for the other bodiesCredit: The Mega Agency


https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/20229520/mcfit-millionaire-friendship-klitschko-plane-crash/