Plane With Malawi VP, 9 Others Is Missing

Military aircraft carrying Saulos Chilima 'went off radar,' authorities say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 10, 2024 1:55 PM CDT
Plane Carrying Malawi VP, 9 Others Is Missing
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima, left, greets government officials upon his return from South Korea in Lillongwe, Sunday, June 9, 2024.   (AP Photo)

A military plane carrying Malawi's vice president and nine others went missing Monday and a search is underway, the president's office said. The plane carrying 51-year-old Vice President Saulos Chilima left the southern African nation's capital, Lilongwe, at 9:17am but failed to land as scheduled around 45 minutes later at Mzuzu International Airport, about 230 miles to the north, the AP reports. Aviation authorities lost contact with the plane when it "went off radar," according to a statement from Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera's office. Chakwera ordered a search operation and canceled a trip to the Bahamas, his office said.

"All efforts to make contact with the aircraft since it went off radar have failed thus far," the office said. Chilima had been facing corruption charges over allegations that he received money in return for influencing the awarding of government contracts, but the charges were surprisingly dropped by prosecutors last month. That led to criticism that Chakwera's administration was not taking a hard enough stance against graft. Chilima had been on his way to the funeral of Ralph Kasambara, a former cabinet minister who died three days ago, the BBC reports.

(More Malawi stories.)

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