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Wreckage found from Italian designer Missoni’s crashed plane

Vittorio Missoni at Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, on Sept. 23, 2010. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Alberto Terengh

Venezuela said on Thursday it had found the crashed plane of Italian fashion executive Vittorio Missoni, which went missing in January after taking off from the Los Roques archipelago in the Caribbean six months ago.

The small, twin-engine aircraft carrying Missoni, 58, his wife Maurizia Castiglioni, another couple, a Venezuelan crew member, and the pilot disappeared after taking off on Jan. 4.

Venezuela’s Interior Ministry said the aircraft had been found less than three nautical miles to the north of Key Carenero, one of the many keys that make up Los Roques.

The plane was found at a depth of some 76 metres. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said the wreckage of two planes had been discovered within the past two weeks. The Interior Ministry confirmed to Reuters that one of the planes was the Missoni plane.

“By sheer coincidence last week a plane showed up, and this week appeared another that had recently crashed in January. In both cases they were of Italian origin,” Jaua said.

“This is part of a joint cooperation effort. The Italian government made available the latest technology for the search for stricken ships and the outcome of the work between Italy, Venezuela and the Netherlands has been the identification of these two planes. Now we need to go ahead with the operation to refloat them and perhaps discover the remains of the people on board and give their families the possibility to give them a Christian burial.”

The Missoni company said in a statement that the aircraft had been found with the aid of a U.S. oceanographic survey vessel.

Missoni was the oldest child of the founders of the fashion house famous for its exuberantly colored knits, featuring bold stripes and zigzags. He was co-owner with siblings Luca and Angela, who handle the technical and design sides of the firm.