Venezuelan authorities said on Thursday that a missing aircraft carrying Italian fashion boss Vittorio Missoni and presumed lost at sea almost six months ago had been found.
The twin-engined aircraft was said to have been located just north of the Los Roques archipelago, a popular destination for Italian tourists. Missoni, 58, head of the Italian fashion dynasty bearing his name, along with his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni and friends, had been returning from a Christmas holiday on the Caribbean archipelago.
"In the early morning hours [today], the airplane number YV2615 was found, which disappeared on January 4 2013," attorney-general Luisa Ortega Díaz said in an emailed statement.
(Read More: Missoni Scion on Missing Plane in Venezuela)
The statement confirmed that Missoni, his wife, another Italian couple and two Venezuelan crew members were aboard the small plane.
Missoni was the eldest son of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, founders of the Milan luxury brand. The company's bright zigzag patterns on knits and home furnishings are a favourite among Hollywood celebrities and European royalty.
No further details were given on the condition of the aircraft when it was found, or factors that might have contributed to the crash.
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A statement from the Italian fashion house said the aircraft was identified on the fifth day of a search using the technology of the oceanographic American ship, the Deep Sea.
"The families thank the Venezuelan government and the Italian government for the effort in having made this search possible, and they are confident that the investigation will follow through to the ascertainment of the causes and the responsibility for the accident," the Missoni statement said.
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The Los Roques flight is not the first to be lost off the Venezuelan coast. During the undersea search for the missing Missoni plane, authorities discovered another small plane in the same area, which disappeared in 2008.
Earlier this year, Italian authorities investigating the disappearance said the pilot and the company operating the plane didn't have permission to fly.
Italy's flight security agency, ANSV, has revealed that the license of the planes' 72-year old pilot had expired more than a month before its final takeoff, and the company did not posses the certificate required in order to fly.