Aircraft carrying Malawi vice president Saulos Klaus Chilima and 9 others missing, presidency says


Saulos Klaus Chilima, Malawi’s incumbent Vice President and president for the United Transformation Movement (UTM), in May 2020. (AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)


Saulos Klaus Chilima, Malawi’s incumbent Vice President and president for the United Transformation Movement (UTM), in May 2020. (AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)

  • Malawi is searching for a plane that was carrying Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine others.
  • They were on a short-hop airforce flight due at Mzuzu International airport around 10AM this morning.
  • All contact was lost with the plane, and a search had turned up nothing by Monday evening.

An aircraft carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine others has gone missing, Malawi’s presidency said on Monday.

“All efforts by aviation authorities to make contact with the aircraft since it went off the radar have failed thus far,” Malawi’s Office of the President and Cabinet said in a statement.

Chilima, 51, was aboard a Malawi Defense Force aircraft that left the capital Lilongwe at 09:17, the statement said, adding that search and rescue operations were ongoing.

The Malawi Defence Force aircraft had been due to land at Mzuzu International Airport, near the middle line of Lake Malawi after a flight of less than an hour. 

The trip between the cities takes some 5 hours by car.

Soldiers are said to be looking for the missing aircraft with torches and on foot in the Chikangawa forest south of Mzuzu, according to local media reports.

Various unconfirmed reports have circulated that eye witnesses saw a plane crashing into the forest earlier Monday.

President Lazarus Chakwera had been due to travel to be Bahamas, but had cancelled that trip, his office said.

In 2022, Chilima was stripped of his powers when he was arrested and charged with graft over a bribery scandal involving a British-Malawian businessman.

Last month, a Malawian court dropped the charges after Chilima attended several court appearances.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Additional reporting by News24 and AFP

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