Missing Fashion Mogul's Family Begs for Help
Crews search for Missoni's plane; or was he kidnapped?
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2013 3:35 PM CST
In this photo taken on March 30, 2005 Vittorio Missoni, right, and his wife Maurizia Castiglioni smile in Milan, Italy.    (AP Photo/Livio Valerio, Lapresse)
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(Newser) – The family of a missing Italian fashion designer is begging for help after his plane vanished off the coast of Venezuela on Friday, ANSA reports. "Vittorio Missoni is missing," tweeted Missoni's son. "Please help me find my father!" With searches ongoing, the pilot of a plane that took off a minute after Missoni's gave potentially bad news, Reuters reports: He saw the plane be "swallowed up by a huge cumulus cloud."

"It was a lightning bolt," the pilot added. "It must have been a lightning bolt." Another version of the disappearance holds that the plane's two pilots and four passengers, including Missoni's wife Maurizia Castiglioni, have been kidnapped. An Italian cell-phone company confirmed that another passenger on board texted his son late last night, saying, "Call now, we are reachable." Calls to his phone were not returned, the New York Post reports, but Missoni's family seems more hopeful: "It’s better to be kidnapped than at the bottom of the sea,” said Missoni's sister Angela.