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Missoni still missing: New team sent to Venezuela to aid in search

  • Missoni 660 AP.jpg

    Vittorio Missoni, right, and his wife Maurizia Castiglioni smile in Milan, Italy on March 30, 2005. (AP)

  • MIssoni BT.jpg

  • Vittorio Missoni

     (REUTERS)

It's been more than five days since a small plane carrying the CEO of Missoni disappeared in Venezuela, and the iconic fashion family is demanding answers, according to the New York Post. 

Vittorio Missoni was among the four Italian tourists on the flight that never made it from the resort islands of Los Roques to Caracas on Jan. 4.

The area the plane was traveling in has been dubbed the "new Bermuda Triangle" by some, because there have been more than 15 accidents in the region since the 1990s. 

Italian Foreign Ministry officials said Tuesday that the Civil Protection team will leave Wednesday to lend assistance. They also said Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has praised Venezuela's "massive effort" in the search operations.

In Los Roques on Tuesday, search teams set out in patrol boats for their fifth day, carrying teams of divers.

The Italian team that will travel to Venezuela includes a naval expert, two fire department search-and-rescue experts and a member of Italy's national flight safety agency.

The Venezuelan government says that nearly 400 people have been involved in the search so far, using planes, helicopters and Coast Guard ships.

One source told the Post he saw the plane fly into a large cloud that “must have been a lightning bolt.”

Another speculated that issues with the 44-year-old plane carrying the style icon could have been the root of the disappearance. 

The islands are popular for scuba diving, white beaches and coral reefs. Missoni had been vacationing in the islands along with his companion, Maurizia Castiglioni, and two Italian friends.

The plane disappeared during a flight of about 95 miles (150 kilometers) from the islands to the Caracas airport.

Venezuelan authorities have said the twin-engine BN-2 Islander had enough fuel on board for a three-hour flight, and the flight was supposed to take 42 minutes.

A source added to the Post that the family is not sure who will take over if Missoni is not found. 

“There is no succession plan in place. Nobody expected this to happen.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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