An aircraft carrying Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima and nine others has gone missing, according to a statement from the president’s office.

The Malawi Defence Force aircraft disappeared from radar after departing the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday morning. It was scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport in the country’s north around 10:00 local time (09:00 BST).

President Lazarus Chakwera confirmed in a late Monday speech that a search and rescue operation is underway, emphasizing his commitment to finding the missing plane and any possible survivors.

Efforts to locate the aircraft are described as intensive by Malawi’s information minister, Moses Kunkuyu. Meanwhile, President Chakwera canceled his own flight to the Bahamas, originally planned for Monday evening.

The reason for the aircraft’s disappearance remains unknown. General Valentino Phiri briefed President Chakwera on the situation.

Vice-President Chilima was en route to represent the government at the burial of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara, who passed away three days prior. The proximity of Mzuzu International Airport to the funeral site was cited as the reason for the chosen landing destination.

In 2022, Dr. Chilima faced charges of accepting money in exchange for government contracts but was recently cleared of these allegations by the court, with no reasons provided for the decision.


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