Venezuela recovers likely remains of Italian fashion boss killed in plane crash

CARACAS Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:15pm EDT

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CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela said on Monday it has recovered what it believes are the remains of Italian fashion executive Vittorio Missoni, who went missing in January after taking off in a small plane from the Los Roques archipelago in the Caribbean.

Four months ago, Venezuela's government said it had discovered the aircraft in 76 meters (249 feet) of water. It had been carrying Missoni, 58, his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni, another couple, and two Venezuelan crew members.

"All the remains were complete in the plane," Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega told reporters. "There was the luggage and other belongings which indicate to us ... that they belonged to the people we were looking for."

Ortega said Venezuelan navy divers recovered the remains of five of the passengers, but that the sixth was in a hard to reach spot in the wreckage.

The remains will be submitted to DNA tests to verify that they belonged to Missoni and the other victims, she said.

Earlier this year, Italy's agency for flight security, ANSV, said its investigation had found that the airline that owned the plane was not fully licensed to operate and that the pilot's license had expired more than a month before the flight.

Missoni was the oldest child of the founders of the fashion house famous for its exuberantly colored knits, featuring bold stripes and zigzags. He was co-owner with siblings Luca and Angela, who handle the technical and design sides of the firm.

(Reporting by Liamar Ramos and Efrain Otero; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Eric Beech)

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