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Missoni fashion house executive missing after plane disappeared off Venezuela coast

The search resumed Saturday for a small plane that has disappeared off the Venezuelan coast with six people aboard, including Vittorio Missoni, a top executive in Italy's Missoni fashion house, officials said.

Missoni, 58, is the director general of the iconic brand and the eldest son of the company's founder. Flying with him on Friday's flight from Venezuela's Los Roques resort archipelago to Caracas, was Missoni's wife, Maurizia Castiglioni, two Italian friends of the couple, and a crew of two Venezuelans.

Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that family patriarch Ottavio Missoni, 91, and his wife, Rosita, were at their home in Italy, along with their daughter, Angela, the chief fashion designer and sister of Vittorio Missoni, waiting for information about the search. Italian news reports said the third Missoni sibling, Luca, had flown to Venezuela.

"We have no other news" beyond that the plane went missing, Paolo Marchetti, a Missoni official told reporters as he left company headquarters in the northern Italian town of Sumirago on Saturday afternoon.

Missoni, with its trademark zigzag and other geometric patterns in sweaters, scarves and other knitwear, is one of Italy's most famous fashion brands abroad. Vittorio Missoni played a key role in marketing the Missoni family creations in Asia, especially in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea, and he took on the title of general director of marketing of Missoni SpA. He also is responsible for the company's products in the United States and France.

His elderly parents still play an active role in the family.

On Friday, Venezuela's Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said the plane was declared missing hours after taking off from Los Roques, a string of islands, cays and islets that is popular for scuba diving, white beaches and coral reefs, where the Missonis and their friends were on vacation.

Revero said the plane had been expected at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas but never arrived.

A first day of searching on Friday yielded nothing.

As the search resumed Saturday, the Italian news agency ANSA, reporting from Rome, said a specialized ocean-searching naval vessel was being deployed.

The Missoni brand is scheduled to display its latest menswear creations on the Milan runways in fashion show later this month.

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