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Though reports circulated yesterday that a mysterious text message led the Missoni family to believe Vittorio Missoni's plane was potentially hijacked, WWD is reporting that Venezuelan authorities have dismissed the possibility that Missoni and his traveling companions were kidnapped.
Missoni, who is CEO of the Missoni fashion house, was leaving the Venezuelan island resort of Los Roques on Friday morning when his plane disappeared from radar contact. Also aboard were his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni, and friends Guido Foresti, his wife Elda Scalvenzi, and two Venezuelan pilots.
Foresti's son said he received an SMS message late Sunday night which read, in Italian: "Call now, we are reachable." The Italian telephone company Telecom Italia Mobile confirmed that the message was sent from Foresti's son, according to the Telegraph.
The Missoni family responded to the news with optimism. "It's better to be kidnapped than at the bottom of the sea," Angela Missoni, Vittorio's sister and head of design at the Missoni company, told Italian reporters outside her home yesterday. "We hope all four are alive and well. We also hope that the searches go in all directions."
According to WWD, however, a spokesman for the Venezuelan Interior Ministry said the government is not working with the possibility of a kidnapping. There was no mention of Foresti's text message in the English translations of the statement.
Today, the search continues into its fifth day. Luca Missoni, Vittorio's brother and the brand's creative director, has reportedly flown to Venezuela and is actively involved in the search. "He is a pilot and he is also flying over the area now," Angela Missoni said in a statement.
Italy's La Stampa newspaper on Monday reported that Venezuelan pilot Enrique Rada saw the aircraft carrying Vittorio Missoni entering 'an aggregation of clouds.' Via Reuters: "I saw them right in front of me as they were swallowed up by a huge cumulus cloud ... It was a lightning bolt. It must have been a lightning bolt." Rada was unable to make radio contact with the aircraft.
"My children and our nephews and nieces are with my parents, united at this difficult time. We are all moved by the affection and help that we have had until now from all over the world and are extremely grateful to the authorities for their incessant rescue search and efforts," said Angela Missoni.