Missoni family hopes missing fashion boss still alive

Mon Jan 7, 2013 1:01pm EST
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MILAN/LOS ROQUES, Venezuela (Reuters) - The family of missing Italian fashion boss Vittorio Missoni said on Monday they still believed he was alive, three days after his plane disappeared off the coast of Venezuela.

The small twin-engine aircraft carrying Missoni, 58, his wife Maurizia Castiglioni, another couple and two Venezuelan crew members went missing on Friday after taking off from the island resort of Los Roques.

"We are full of hope and confidence for the work that the authorities have done so far. We will not give up," Missoni's sister Angela wrote in an emailed statement to the media.

"We believe Vittorio, Maurizia, Elda and Guido are still alive!" Angela also wrote on Twitter. "Please help us find them and bring them back home."

Missoni, a sports lover known for his informal looks and charming smile, is the oldest son of the founders of the fashion house famous for its exuberantly coloured knits featuring bold stripes and zigzags.

He is the firm's co-owner with siblings Luca and Angela, who handle the technical and design sides of the firm.

Luca Missoni, who is also a pilot, was flying over the area to help with the rescue effort together with Alberto Piantoni, chief executive of the fashion house, Angela said.

Venezuelan rescue divers were searching the aircraft's last determined location, while searches also continue on the ground.

Captain Raul Rivas, Coast Guard Commander in Los Roques, said the son of a jewelry designer and owner of an international hotel chain was also believed to be on board alongside Missoni, his wife and their friends Elda Scalvenzi and Guido Foresti.   Continued...

A rescue team member searches for the Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft YV-2615 near the archipielago of Los Roques January 6, 2013. REUTERS/Ministry of Interior and Justice/Handout