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Venezuela recovers remains from wreckage of Missoni's plane

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 10:31 AM EDT, Wed October 23, 2013
A small plane carrying Italian fashion director Vittorio Missoni and his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni, has been missing off the coast of Venezuela since Friday, January 4. The couple is pictured in Milan, Italy, in 2010. A small plane carrying Italian fashion director Vittorio Missoni and his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni, has been missing off the coast of Venezuela since Friday, January 4. The couple is pictured in Milan, Italy, in 2010.
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Italian fashion boss Missoni
Italian fashion boss Missoni
Italian fashion boss Missoni
Italian fashion boss Missoni
Italian fashion boss Missoni
Italian fashion boss Missoni
Italian fashion boss Missoni
Italian fashion boss Missoni
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Investigators are still collecting information necessary to identify the bodies
  • Venezuela's attorney general says remains of five people have been recovered
  • Crews combed the wreckage site last week in three dives

(CNN) -- Venezuela's top prosecutor says divers have recovered the remains of five people from the wreckage of an airplane that Italian fashion mogul Vitorrio Missoni was flying in earlier this year.

Investigators are still collecting DNA samples and other information necessary to identify the bodies, Attorney General Luisa Ortega told reporters.

The plane disappeared on January 4 as it left the Caribbean archipelago of Los Roques for the international airport outside Caracas, about 90 miles away. Missoni, his wife, and four others -- including a pilot and copilot -- were on board. All are presumed dead.

Weeks after the small aircraft disappeared, a family spokeswoman said a bag from the plane had been discovered on the Caribbean island of Curacao.

Celebrated designer Gianni Versace was killed on July 15, 1997, allegedly by suspected mass-murderer Andrew Cunanan. Versace's sister, Donatella, took over the Versace company three months after he died. Ten years after Versace's death, Italy's fashion capital paid tribute to the slain fashion designer with a glittering ballet performance at Milan's La Scala opera house. Celebrated designer Gianni Versace was killed on July 15, 1997, allegedly by suspected mass-murderer Andrew Cunanan. Versace's sister, Donatella, took over the Versace company three months after he died. Ten years after Versace's death, Italy's fashion capital paid tribute to the slain fashion designer with a glittering ballet performance at Milan's La Scala opera house.
Fashion world shockers: Gianni Versace
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Shocking fashion tragedies and scandals Shocking fashion tragedies and scandals
Missing fashion mogul
Fashion mogul's mysterious disappearance

Search teams spotted the wreckage in June, 13 nautical miles from Gran Roque island and nearly 250 feet underwater.

Crews combed the wreckage site last week in three dives to recover remains and other material from the wreckage, Ortega said. The attorney general met with family members of the Venezuelan victims of the crash on Monday to report on the progress of the investigation.

They extracted the remains of five bodies, she said, but could not obtain any samples from the sixth body because it was in a location that was difficult to reach.

Crews also recovered flight information, which will be used to determine what caused the plane crash, Ortega said.

Missoni, 58, ran the famed Missoni fashion house with his siblings, Luca and Angela. Neither sibling was on the plane.

The fashion house, which boasts such celebrity clients as Katie Holmes, Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie, is a high-end label known for its patterned knitwear and signature zigzag stripe.

The private company, based in Milan, Italy, has estimated annual sales of between $75 million and $100 million.

The brand, created in 1953 as a knitwear workshop in Gallarte, Italy, has expanded from apparel to housewares, a fragrance line and a chain of hotels.

Missoni and his siblings took over the brand in 1996 with an eye toward marketing to a younger consumer.

The fashion house partnered with Target in 2011 to produce a more budget-friendly collection for the discount retailer, which caused Target's website to crash because of the high demand.

CNN's Joe Sterling, Alex Hunter and Jessica King contributed to this report.

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