Rescue crews are using boats and aircraft to search for a small plane that disappeared off Venezuela carrying the chief executive of Italy's iconic Missoni fashion house and five other people.But more than a day after the BN-2 Islander aircraft disappeared from radar screens on its short flight from Venezuela's coastal resort islands of Los Roques to Caracas, no sign of the plane had been found, officials said.
"We're holding on to a glimmer of hope," said Oswaldo Scalvenzi, a relative of Elda Scalvenzi, one of the Missoni friends aboard the flight.
Until they could see the wreckage, hope would remain, Scalvenzi told Italian state TV on Saturday night.
Search teams were using a plane and a helicopter, working together with the Venezuelan coast guard, Venezuela's National Civil Aviation Institute said in a statement.
The twin-engine plane had enough fuel on board for a three-hour flight, said Francisco Paz Fleitas, president of the civil aviation agency.
Paz said the plane took off at 11.39am local time on Friday and had been expected to arrive at Caracas' Simon Bolivar International Airport 42 minutes later.
The civil aviation agency said authorities declared an alert after the plane didn't make contact with the control tower at the Caracas airport or with the tower in Los Roques.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Venezuelan aircraft, boats and helicopters took off at dawn on Saturday to resume the search for the missing plane, which had been suspended on Friday night.
Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol announced that the plane was missing hours after it took off from Los Roques, a string of islands popular for scuba diving, white beaches and coral reefs, and where the Missonis and their friends were on vacation.
Reverol said on Friday that two navy patrol boats were involved in the search and that a specialised oceanographic ship, the Guaicamacuto, also had been deployed.
Vittorio Missoni is the eldest son of the company's founder, Ottavio, who at 91 still follows the business.
The Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that Ottavio and his wife Rosita were at their home in Italy, along with their daughter Angela, waiting for information about the search. Rosita Missoni designs housewares for the company, and Angela is the company's creative director.The Missoni fashion house, with its trademark zigzag and other geometric patterns in sweaters, scarves and other knitwear, is one of Italy's most famous fashion brands abroad.
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