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Aircraft carrying Malawi's vice president goes missing

Aircraft carrying Malawi's vice president goes missing

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera announced an all-out search for a missing military aircraft carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others. The plane lost contact due to bad weather while en route to a funeral.

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Malawi's President deploys full resources to find missing plane Malawi's President deploys full resources to find missing plane

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera announced on Monday that all available resources are being deployed in the search for a military aircraft carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others, which went missing due to bad weather.

The aircraft, which took off around 9:00 am (0700 GMT) from the capital Lilongwe, was headed to Mzuzu for the funeral of a former cabinet minister. However, it failed to land because of poor visibility. President Chakwera, in a televised address, confirmed the aircraft lost contact after being advised to return to Lilongwe.

The missing aircraft also had former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri (Muluzi) on board. Despite claims in local media, President Chakwera dismissed any suggestions that search operations had been halted overnight. "Soldiers are still on the ground carrying out the search," he asserted, emphasizing that the search would continue until the plane is found.

President Chakwera mentioned that the search has been bolstered by offers of support from several countries, including the US, Britain, Norway, and Israel. These countries have provided assistance through specialized technologies to enhance the search operation.

The aircraft's last known position was within a 10-kilometer radius of Riaply, a timber milling company located south of Mzuzu. Soldiers are conducting ground searches, aided by torches, according to local reports. Unconfirmed sightings suggest the plane may have crashed into a forested area.

Chakwera, who has canceled a planned visit to the Bahamas, expressed hope and determination in finding the aircraft and any possible survivors. He promised regular updates from the army regarding the search progress.

Vice President Chilima, first elected in 2014 and re-elected for a second term, is a popular figure in Malawi, especially among the youth. Despite his popularity, his second term has been marred by a bribery scandal, leading to his powers being stripped in 2022.

The nation's focus remains on the search operation, with hopes pinned on finding the missing aircraft and its occupants.

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: Jun 11, 2024