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Plane of Italian fashion guru goes missing

Search ongoing for Vittorio Missoni, head of iconic Missoni fashion house and five other people, missing off Venezuela.
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2013 07:28
Vittorio Missoni was travelling with his wife, two of their Italian friends and two Venezuelan crew members [AFP]

Rescue crews have used boats and aircraft  to search for a small plane that disappeared off Venezuela carrying the CEO of Italy's iconic Missoni fashion house and five other people.

By Sunday, more than a day after the BN-2 Islander aircraft disappeared from radar screens on its short flight from the Venezuelan resort islands of Los Roques to Caracas, no sign of the plane had been found, officials said.

"We have no other news'' about the plane carrying 58-year-old Vittorio Missoni, the head of the company; his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni; two of their Italian friends; and two Venezuelan crew members, said Paolo Marchetti,
a Missoni SpA official.

He spoke briefly to reporters as he left company headquarters in the northern Italian town of Sumirago on Saturday afternoon.

Missoni's younger brother, Luca, who is active in the family-run business, was reportedly traveling to Venezuela on Saturday to monitor search efforts.

"We're holding onto a glimmer of hope,'' said Oswaldo Scalvenzi , a relative of Elda Scalvenzi, one of the Missoni friends aboard the flight.

"Until we can see the wreckage'' hope will remain, Scalvenzi told Italian state TV on Saturday night.

Search teams were using a plane and a helicopter, working together with the Venezuelan coast guard, Venezuela's National Civil Aviation Institute said in a statement Saturday.

Last position

The twin-engine plane had enough fuel on board for a three-hour flight,said Francisco Paz Fleitas, president of the civil aviation agency.

Paz said the plane took off at 11:39 am on Friday and had been expected to arrive at Caracas' Simon Bolivar International Airport 42 minutes later.

The civil aviation agency said the authorities declared an alert after the plane didn't make contact with the control tower at the Caracas airport or with the tower in Los Roques.

"The last position registered in radar data and those supplied by a system on board the aircraft'' was about 18km south of Los Roques, the agency said in the statement.

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Venezuelan aircraft, boats and helicopters took off at dawn Saturday to resume the search for the missing plane, which had been suspended on Friday night.

Vittorio Missoni is the eldest son of the company's founder, Ottavio, who at 91 still follows the business.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that Ottavio and his wife Rosita were at their home in Italy, along with their daughter Angela, waiting for information about the search. Rosita Missoni designs housewares for the company, and Angela is the company's creative director. 

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