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Plane carrying Malawi vice president Saulos Chilima, 9 others reported missing

David Matthews, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

A plane carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others was reported missing Monday after failing to make a scheduled landing.

The aircraft took off from the capital of Lilongwe around 9:15 a.m. local time and never arrived at Mzuzu International Airport, disappearing from radar, officials said. The trip was only scheduled to last about 45 minutes.

In an address to the nation, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera said the plane failed to land because of bad weather and was advised to turn back around and return to Lilongwe.

“All efforts by aviation authorities to make contact with the aircraft since it went off the radar have failed thus far,” the presidential office said in a statement.

“The president has since canceled his scheduled departure for the Bahamas and ordered all regional and national agencies to conduct an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the whereabouts of the aircraft,” the statement added.

The search had narrowed to a specific zone, Chakwera said in an update later Monday.

 

“I know that this is a heartbreaking situation,” he said. “I know that we are all frightened and concerned — I too am concerned. But I want to assure you that I am sparing no available resource to find that plane.”

Chilima, 51, has been Malawi’s vice president since 2014.

Malawi, which is landlocked in southeastern Africa by Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique, has a population of about 21 million.

The incident came on the heels of a helicopter crash killed which Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi last month.

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