Aircraft carrying Malawi vice-president disappears, search efforts underway

According to a statement from President Lazarus Chakwera’s office, all attempts by aviation authorities to re-establish contact with the aircraft since it went off the radar have been unsuccessful.

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A military aircraft carrying Malawian Vice-President Saulos Chilima has gone missing after failing to land on Monday, according to a government statement. The incident has prompted an urgent search and rescue mission by both regional and national forces.

The aircraft took off shortly after 9:00 AM local time (0700 GMT) and was carrying the 51-year-old vice president along with nine other individuals. According to a statement from President Lazarus Chakwera’s office, all attempts by aviation authorities to re-establish contact with the aircraft since it went off the radar have been unsuccessful.

Search and rescue operations underway

President Chakwera has ordered an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the aircraft. The plane was scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport at 10:02 AM, but it never arrived. The president, who was supposed to leave for a working visit to the Bahamas, has cancelled his trip to oversee the rescue operations.

Here's the press release issued by Republic of Malawi:

Background of Vice-President Chilima

In 2022, Vice-President Chilima was arrested and charged with corruption in a bribery scandal involving a British-Malawian businessman. The charges were dropped last month after several court appearances by Chilima, leading to his reinstatement.

World awaits updates

As rescue efforts continue, the nation waits anxiously for updates on the whereabouts of the aircraft and its passengers. The situation has drawn significant attention and concern, with hopes for a safe resolution growing with each passing hour.

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