Wreckage of Italian millionaire’s plane found off Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela, Monday July 1, 2013 – After a search effort spanning almost six months, Venezuelan authorities have located the light aircraft that was carrying Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni and five others, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.
The small plane went missing on January 4 after departing Los Roques archipelago for the short flight to the international airport near Caracas, a distance of about 90 miles.
Vittorio Missoni and his wife, together with two other passengers and two crew members were on board the ill-fated aircraft.
Venezuelan authorities had been engaged in an intensive search operation involving boats, helicopters and divers scouring the area for any sign of the missing plane.
The search area was widened in late January when a bag from the plane washed up in Curacao, some 124 miles away from where the aircraft disappeared.
The aircraft was finally found with the help of an American ship with special oceanographic technology. It was located off the coast of Key Carenero, within the Los Roques archipelago, according to a family statement published by Italy's ANSA news agency.
"At this time, efforts are underway to recover the wreckage," the families of those aboard the plane said in the statement. "The families would like to thank the Venezuelan and Italian governments for its commitments in finding the wreckage and the family is confident that the investigation into the cause of the incident."
Fifty-eight-year-old Vittorio Missoni ran the famed Missoni fashion house with his siblings Luca and Angela, neither of whom was aboard the lost aircraft.
The family fashion house, which is patronized by celebrity clients like Katie Holmes, Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie, is a high-end fashion label known for its patterned knitwear and signature zigzag stripe.
Based in Milan, the private company has estimated annual sales of between US$75 million and US$100 million.
The brand, which originated in 1953 as a knitwear workshop in Gallarte, Italy, has since expanded from apparel to housewares, a fragrance line and a hotel chain. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)