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2 Bodies Retrieved from Costa Rica Plane Crash

Costa Rican rescue groups found Saturday the bodies of two people who were traveling in a small plane that crashed Friday in the Caribbean Sea with six people on board, five German passengers and the Swiss pilot, said Public Security Minister Jorge Torres. 

“We have rescued some pieces, parts of the plane that the currents are returning to us, (and) two bodies, one of a minor and part of an adult,” Torres said in the Caribbean town of Limón (east) to the television news program Repretel, confirming the location of the plane reported missing.

The search for the aircraft from Mexico began around 6pm Friday after contact was lost with the control tower over the Caribbean, near Barra de Parismina off the coast of the eastern province of Limon. 

The operation was resumed this Saturday and the first remains of the plane were found at 5:50 am at 28 kilometers in front of Limon airport, in the sea, said the vice minister of Public Security, Martin Arias. After several hours of work, the search was suspended again and will be resumed on Sunday. 

According to the German newspaper Bild, the occupants of the plane were the founder of the McFit gyms, Rainer Schaller, his partner and their two children, as well as another man. 

The tabloid attributed the information to a spokesman for RSG-Group GmbH, which operates the McFit chain of gyms, the largest in Europe. “At the moment, we don’t know more,” he said.

Schaller was also a sponsor and organizer of the Tecno Parade electronic music street festival between 2006 and 2010, the year the festivities came to a tragic end with a human stampede that killed 21 people. The German Foreign Ministry gave no indication as to the identity of the victims.

When announcing the disappearance of the aircraft on Friday, Torres had reported five German occupants listed in the flight report, but in his statement on Saturday to the local TV news he rectified the number of people on board the plane to six, adding the pilot of Swiss nationality after corroborating data through the aviation services. 

Search Operation

Several objects located were brought to a port in Limon, about 160 km east of the capital San Jose, in the Caribbean province of the same name, according to photographs and videos provided by the Costa Rican security institution.

Among the objects were a seat and part of the fuselage of the aircraft, as well as bags and backpacks. In addition, the images showed Coast Guard boats picking up other pieces at sea. 

National Coast Guard vessels and Air Surveillance Service aircraft “began an operation at 05H00 (Saturday) morning. They spent the night planning according to the last communication that was rescued from the aircraft”, added Torres, specifying that they counted with the help of the United States in the operation.  

“We started from the last communication from the site and measured a perimeter (which) was very effective because we arrived promptly at the site of the event,” added the official. “What is noticeable at the site of the impact was very strong, it is regrettable. We are at the expense of what the sea gives us back and patrolling permanently as far as time allows us,” he said. 

According to the Costa Rican press, the private plane left a terminal area from the Mexican state of Chiapas (south).  

A command post has been set up at the Limón airport, where Costa Rican Red Cross and firefighters are participating, Arias said. 

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