01.10.13 6:26 PM ET
Venezuelan Newspaper Reports Missing Vittorio Missoni’s Body Found
Officials in Venezuela have reportedly found a floating corpse that has been linked to the missing airplane carrying fashion heir Vittorio Missoni, his companion, and two other Italians, although officials said later the body is a long-missing fisherman in "advanced stages of decomposition."
The Venezuelan newspaper El Universal is reporting that a body was found floating in the sea about 500 meters from the port of La Guaira on the Venezuelan mainland.
Missoni and his travel companions and their two-man crew left the island of Los Roques on Jan. 4 and their plane disappeared from radar about 11 miles off the coast of the island.
On Sunday, a mysterious SMS message coming from the cellphone of one of the plane’s passengers gave the Missoni family new hope that their beloved company director had been kidnapped and had not perished in an air-sea accident. If the corpse turns out to be one of the members of the Missoni party or their crew, it will put to rest the Missoni family’s kidnapping theory.
Nearly 400 search and rescue divers and pilots have been scouring the area since the Missoni plane disappeared nearly one week ago. On Wednesday, the Italian foreign ministry dispatched its own team of divers to aid in the search.
The Missoni family has not yet made a statement on the reports of the discovered body.