The head of the family-owned Missoni fashion business, Vittorio, and his wife Maurizia, were among six people who went missing aboard a small tourist biplane that vanished from the radar near the archipelago of Los Roques in Venezuela.
The twin-engine 1968 Britten-Norman BN-2 vanished from radar after flying about 10 nautical miles from Los Roques, where the Missoni couple had been reportedly spending Christmas and New Year at a resort, Venezuelan minister for justice and home affairs Nestor Reverol said.
The plane, which also carried another couple and two Venezuelan crew members, was heading to Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia.
Venezuelan Navy planes have conducted searches since losing contact with the plane.
The 58-year-old Vittorio Missoni is the eldest son of Italian designer Ottavio, who in 1953 founded the fashion house known for its signature multi-colored geometrical knits.
Ottavio currently heads the American and French affiliates of the luxury fashion brand, worth over €60.1 million, as commercial and marketing director of the Missoni SpA, the Telegraph reported.
Five years ago, on January 4, another plane carrying 14 passengers, eight of them Italian, went missing in the same area. The wreck was never located after the engines failed and the vehicle vanished into the sea. Only the body of the co-pilot was recovered.