Gold’s Gym owner and 5 others feared dead after plane crash off the coast of Costa Rica
A man who owns Gold’s Gym and is accused of hiring a pilot to fly his plane to Mexico to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. was killed when his plane crashed into the sea off the Costa Rican coast. It was an accident, according to the pilot.
Mark Ocasio, the owner of Gold’s Gym, was on a trip to Mexico. At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Ocasio’s plane crashed in the Gulf of Fonseca, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Cartago, a popular tourist destination on the Caribbean coast.
Ocasio’s body was found by surfers in shallow water about 6:45 a.m. Thursday, the Costa Rican navy said. It was confirmed by the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, saying in an email to ABC News that the body was identified as Ocasio, who was married to a naturalized U.S. citizen.
The pilot, Victor Gallegos, was also found to have died. The National News Agency reported Gallegos died from a heart attack.
The Costa Rican navy said the plane, which had 12 people aboard, went down approximately five hours after take-off.
The pilot, who was an unnamed U.S. citizen, died from a heart attack. A woman who was a passenger is in intensive care at a Costa Rican hospital, a local official told ABC News.
The other five people on board were identified as the three Americans who were in the plane with Ocasio and two Costa Rican nationals: the pilots and an employee of Gold’s Gym.
“The Costa Rican Coast Guard team is currently on the scene to investigate the accident. The incident is under investigation and the victims have been identified,” Captain Hernan Ojeda, the head of the Costa Rican navy, said in a statement.
The Costa Rican government on Wednesday expressed solidarity with the families of the victims.
“In this tragic event, the government of Costa Rica has expressed its sympathy with the victims’ families, and is providing its assistance to them,” the Costa Rican foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The Costa Rican state is committed to carrying out a thorough investigation, in