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Latin America

Italian fashion boss in Venezuela plane disappearance

Authorities have launched a sea and air rescue mission in the search for a small aircraft that went missing off Venezuela's coast. Fashion CEO Vittorio Missoni was believed to be on board the plane.

The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft YV-2615, which was reported missing on January 4, 2013, is pictured in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Nacional Institute of Civil Aviation/Handout

Kampfflugzeug MiG 23

An aircraft en route from Los Roques island chain to mainland Venezuela was officially declared missing on Saturday, the day after it had departed, an Italian official told Reuters news agency.

"It disappeared yesterday. They have been looking for it with helicopters and ships, but have not found anything yet. They are still searching for it this morning," the Italian consul in Venezuela, Giovanni Davoli, told Reuters in a phone interview.

Six people were believed to have been on board, including the fashion executive's wife, Maurizia Castiglioni, another couple and two Venezuelan crew members, according to Venezuelan and Italian media sources.

The 58-year-old Italian fashion executive is the son of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, who founded the fashion house in 1953. He runs the company along with siblings Luca and Angela, who head the technical and design departments respectively.

Missoni became famous for its knits and zigzag pattern, later expanding to include a men's line and Missoni Home. There was no immediate information given regarding the cause of the disappearance.

Los Roques archipelago - a popular tourist island chain - lies some 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of Caracas in the Caribbean Sea.

kms/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)