Plane carrying Malawi’s vice president and nine others has disappeared: report

A plane carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulo Klaus Chilima and nine other people went missing after it failed to land as scheduled on Monday, CNN reported, citing the president’s office. The Malawi Defense Force plane Chilima and others left the capital Lilongwe at 9.17am (local time) but did not reach their destination.

“All attempts by the aviation authorities to establish contact with the aircraft after it dropped off the radar have so far been unsuccessful,” Malawi’s president and cabinet said in a statement. The plane was scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport at 10:02 am, the statement said.

A Malawi Defense Force plane “went off the radar” after it left the capital Lilongwe on Monday morning, the president’s office said. The president ordered a search and rescue operation after aviation officials were unable to contact the plane, the BBC reported.

Chilima’s wife, Mary, and several officials from the vice president’s United Transformation Movement (UTM) party were on the plane when he disappeared. After the chief of defense forces reported the incident, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera canceled a scheduled flight to the Bahamas.

“The public will be informed about the situation as soon as the facts of any development are established,” the presidential administration said. The cause of the plane’s disappearance is still unknown, General Valentino Phiri told the President of Malawi.

Chilima was on his way to represent the government at the funeral of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara, who died three days ago. He has been the vice president of the landlocked African country since 2014. Prior to his career in politics, he held senior roles in multinational companies such as Unilever and Coca Cola. He has two children.

Born on 12 February 1973, Chilima is a business executive and politician who holds a PhD in Knowledge Management from the University of Bolton, an MSc in Economics, as well as a BA in Social Sciences, Computer Science and Economics. University of Malawi. He was sworn in for a second term as vice president in 2020.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdolahian and other officials were killed in a helicopter crash last month. The chopper crashed in Jolfa, in the country’s northwestern mountainous region, on May 19. Rescue teams battled blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province at dawn the next day.

(according to Reuters)

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