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MILAN — Missoni said Thursday that the oceanographic ship Deep Sea has found the small aircraft YV2615BN-2A that carried Vittorio Missoni and disappeared on Jan. 4.
Traveling with Missoni were his life partner Maurizia Castiglioni, friends Guido Foresti and his wife Elda Scalvenzi and pilot Hernan Jose’ Marchan and copilot Juan Carlos Ferrer Milano.
The plane was identified on the fifth day of the search thanks to the American ship’s technology and is located in the waters north of the Los Roques archipelago off of Venezuela. Authorities are evaluating ways to recover the plane in the deep water and to see if there are bodies inside.
In a statement, the Missoni, Castiglioni, Foresti and Scalvenzi families thanked the Venezuelan and Italian governments for their “commitment in making this search possible” and said they had “faith the investigations will continue until the causes and the responsibilities of the accident will be ascertained.”
According to Italy’s newswire Ansa, a source close to the Farnesina, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the plane is in pieces at about 230 feet below sea level, and was identified through its serial number.
A plane carrying several Italians that coincidentally went missing on Jan. 4, 2008 on the Los Roques-Caracas route was found last week by the Deep Sea ship, which is equipped to inspect deep waters such as these, where the ocean floor reaches a depth of more than 6,560 feet. Following that find, Deep Sea started looking for Missoni’s plane, although the search for the executive had never been discontinued, “exploring all possible directions,” said the family over the past months.
According to Nestor Reverol, Venezuela’s minister for justice and home affairs, Missoni’s twin-engine Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander plane took off from Los Roques on Jan. 4 headed to the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía, about 13 miles from downtown Caracas, and sent out its last signals about 10 nautical miles from Los Roques before disappearing.
Missoni and Castiglioni were vacationing in Venezuela with four Italian friends, including Foresti and Scalvenzi. Scalvenzi’s brother, Giuseppe, and his wife, Rosa Apostoli, didn’t take the same flight directed to Caracas because there was not enough room on the plane.
In February, two bags belonging to Missoni were found on the island of Bonaire, in the Netherland Antilles, between Los Roques and the island of Curaçao.
Both items were empty and “very damaged inside, with their many zips entirely unzipped,” said a statement at the time.