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Pilot of lost plane had expired papers

Vittorio Missoni and 5 others are subjects of an intense search.

Vittorio Missoni and 5 others are subjects of an intense search.

ROME — The pilot of the plane that disappeared Jan. 4 over Venezuela with the CEO of Italian fashion house Missoni and five others on board had an expired medical fitness certificate, and the company operating the aircraft did not yet have permission to fly, Italy’s air safety agency said Tuesday.

The National Flight Safety Agency stressed that at the moment, neither factor ‘‘represents a direct, correlating cause’’ of the disappearance, but are merely facts gathered in the investigation.

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The BN-2 Islander dropped off radar screens soon after takeoff Jan. 4 from the islands of Los Roques during a flight to Caracas. It was carrying two crew members and four Italian tourists, including Vittorio Missoni, CEO of his family’s fashion company.

Italy sent four experts to help with the search, and on Tuesday the air safety agency reported details that have been gathered so far.

The agency said the company operating the plane did not yet have the certificate required for aircraft operators.

Asdrubal Bermudez, president and owner of the company Transaereo 5074, said last week that the plane had met all safety requirements.

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