A small plane carrying fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni went missing off the coast of Venezuela on Friday, and search and rescue operations have so far proved fruitless. The two-engine plane carrying Missoni, his wife, two friends and two crew members disappeared shortly after take off from Los Roques, a remote island resort, bound for the airport near Caracas, Venezuela. The flight normally takes half an hour, but the plane never arrived. A sea and air search has been underway since Friday, according to the New York Times. Luca Missoni, Vittorio’s brother, is reportedly en route to Venezuela to monitor the search effort.
On Friday, Venezuela’s Interior Minister Nestor Reverol told the Associated Press that the plane was declared missing hours after taking off from Los Roques, a string of islands popular for scuba diving, where the Missonis and their friends were vacationing.
ABC News reported this morning that the family’s hopes of a rescue are dwindling. “The plane went down along an area that is a well-known drug smuggling [route],” said the network’s Matt Gutman. “We’re hearing reports from the family that they hope that somehow the plane was hijacked and that is the only only chance that the members might still be alive. This morning search teams are criss-crossing the Carribean for Vittorio Missoni and his companions.”
Missoni is the head of his family’s renowned Italian knitwear label, Missoni. The company was founded in 1953 by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, their three children — Vittorio, Angela and Luca — took over the Milan-based luxury brand in the 1990s and returned it to prominence. Annuals sales are estimated to be between $75 million and $100 million, according to ABC News. The company’s 2011 collaboration with Target was wildly popular with consumers who managed to crash the company’s website with purchase requests, selling out the collection in minutes.
The company’s fall 2013 menswear show is scheduled for next Sunday in Milan, but the fashion house has not yet said whether the show will go on as planned.
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