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Missoni mogul's plane disappears off Venezuela

Models display the Missoni Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 Menswear collection on January 15, 2010 in Milan
Models display the Missoni Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 menswear collection in Milan, northern Italy, on January 15, 2010. Venezuelan emergency workers launched a sea and air search Saturday after a small plane carrying the head of Italy's Missoni fashion fami

Venezuelan emergency workers launched a sea and air search Saturday after a small plane carrying the head of Italy's Missoni fashion family disappeared over coastal islands, officials said.

The plane carrying Vittorio Missoni -- 58-year-old son of the eponymous fashion label's founder Ottavio Missoni -- and his wife Maurizia Castiglioni, another couple and two Venezuelan crew members went missing after taking off from the Los Roques resort late Friday, the Venezuelan Interior Ministry said.

The attorney general's office said relief agencies and several boats began conducting operations to locate the plane and its passengers shortly after the plane disappeared.

Interior Ministry spokesman Jorge Galindo said on his official Twitter account that the other passengers were Guido Foresti and Elda Scalveuzi.

Guiding the aircraft were pilot Hernan Merchan and co-pilot Juan Carlos Ferre Milano.

The Italian Foreign Ministry would only confirm that four Italian citizens had gone missing in Venezuela, declining to confirm their identity.

Vittorio Missoni runs the company with his siblings Luca and Angela. Vittorio is marketing director, his brother Luca is technical director and his sister Angela is artistic director.

Shortly after news broke of his brother's disappearance, Luca went to Venezuela to get information first hand.

In the small commune of Sumirago that houses Missoni's headquarters in northern Italy near Milan, company officials met as they awaited news about the plane.

Vittorio's parents and sister remained in the family home, according to Italian media.

Another similar disappearance took place exactly five years ago, on January 4, 2008.

At the time, a plane carrying 14 people, including eight Italians, went missing in the same area as it flew from Caracas to Los Roques. No trace of the aircraft or its passengers was ever found.

The Missoni fashion house was founded in 1953 by Ottavio Missoni with his wife Rosita. It now sells both ready-to-wear attire for men, women and children, as well as haute couture and perfume.

Missoni has also created auto interiors for Mazda cars and designed interiors for two luxury hotels, in collaboration with the Rezidor Hotel Group.

Los Roques is an archipelago of 350 islands that attracts tourists from all over the world for its deep turquoise sea and the large number of exotic species that live there.

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