Search Underway for Missing Malawian Military Plane Carrying Vice President and Former First Lady

President Lazarus Chakwera announced that soldiers are searching the mountainous forests near Mzuzu, a city in northern Malawi after a military plane carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima, former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, and eight others went missing on Monday. The plane departed from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, at 9:17 a.m. and was expected to land at Mzuzu International Airport 45 minutes later. However, due to poor weather conditions and low visibility, air traffic control advised against attempting a landing and instructed the plane to turn back. Shortly after, the aircraft disappeared from radar.

Chakwera assured the nation that he was dedicating all available resources to locate the plane and expressed hope for finding survivors. The search efforts are focused on a 10-kilometer radius within a pine plantation in the Viphya mountain range, where telecommunications towers last detected the plane’s position. The president has ordered the search to continue throughout the night and has received offers of assistance and specialized technologies from the U.S., the U.K., Norway, and Israel.

Chilima, who has been vice president since 2020, was a candidate in the 2019 Malawian presidential election and joined forces with Chakwera in the historic 2020 election rerun, resulting in Chakwera’s victory. The vice president had recently faced corruption charges, which were dropped last month, leading to criticism of the government’s stance against graft. Chilima has denied the allegations, and the trial has yet to commence.

About Geraldine Boechat 2735 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia