Vittorio Missoni, the head of the Italian-based Missoni fashion empire, is still missing after a plane he was on was reported missing last Friday. Missoni's father, Ottavio Missoni, 91, founded the company and Vittorio, 58, joined the organization in the 1980s. He was on a two-engine plane with his wife Maurizia, four friends and two crew members. The plane took off from Los Roques in Venezuela en route to Caracas on a flight that was supposed to take only 42 minutes, but when it didn't make contact with the control tower at the Caracas airport, authorities issued an alert. Approximately 400 people, including Vittorio's younger brother, Luca, a pilot, continued the search yesterday. "The last position registered in radar data and those supplied by a system on board the aircraft" was about 18 kilometers south of Los Roques, the National Civil Aviation Institute said in a statement.
Rumors that Missoni has been kidnapped were denied by Venezeulan authorities, but Missoni creative director Angela Missoni told reporters yesterday: "It's better to be kidnapped than at the bottom of the sea. We hope all four are alive and well. We also hope that the searches go in all directions." Yesterday, reports emerged that the son of Guido Foresti, a friend of Missoni's who was on the plane - received a text message Sunday evening from his father that read: "Call now, we are reachable." Telecom Italia Mobile confirmed the text message was sent, but couldn't pinpoint the date it was written. Calls made since to the cell phone showed it was not turned on, according to The New York Post.