Malawi Launches Intensive Search for Missing Vice-President's Plane

Malawi Launches Intensive Search for Missing Vice-President's Plane

In a tense and urgent situation, soldiers in Malawi have embarked on a rigorous search operation after a plane carrying Vice-President Saulos Chilima and nine others went missing amid adverse weather conditions. The aircraft departed from Lilongwe, the capital city, destined for Mzuzu international airport, but failed to reach its destination.

President Lazarus Chakwera addressed the nation, expressing deep concern over the disappearance of the aircraft and the safety of its passengers. He stated, “I know this is a heartbreaking situation. I know 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.”

Air traffic control in Mzuzu had instructed the pilots to abort the landing due to poor weather conditions, prompting the aircraft to turn back. However, contact with the plane was lost shortly afterward, leaving authorities with limited information on its whereabouts.

Chakwera revealed that assistance from international partners, including the US, UK, Norway, and Israel, has been enlisted to aid in the search efforts. Specialized technologies have been deployed to expedite the process and locate the missing aircraft as soon as possible.

Despite the challenges posed by heavy rains, particularly in the northern regions of Malawi, the search operation is relentless. The last known position of the plane was tracked to within a 10km radius of the Mzuzu area, surrounded by the Viphya mountain range.

The President emphasized, “I have given strict orders that the operation should continue until the plane is found.” This directive underscores the unwavering commitment of the Malawian authorities to exhaust all avenues in locating the missing aircraft and its passengers.

The gravity of the situation led President Chakwera to cancel his planned visit to the Bahamas. Instead, his focus remains firmly on coordinating the search efforts and providing updates to the public.

The intended purpose of the flight adds poignancy to the unfolding events. Vice-President Saulos Chilima, along with former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri and other passengers, were en route to attend the funeral of Ralph Kasambara, a former minister of justice and attorney general. Kasambara's untimely demise further compounds the sorrow surrounding this tragedy.

Saulos Chilima, aged 51, has been a prominent figure in Malawi's political landscape, serving as vice-president since 2014. His professional background spans various sectors, including leadership roles in telecommunications and multinational corporations. Chilima holds a doctoral degree in knowledge management from the University of Bolton, underscoring his academic credentials.

The uncertainty surrounding the fate of the missing aircraft casts a somber shadow over Malawi, as citizens and well-wishers anxiously await any developments. The resilience and determination exhibited by the search teams reflect a collective effort to find answers and bring closure to this distressing ordeal.

As the search continues into the night, the thoughts and prayers of the nation are with the passengers and crew of the missing plane. The resolve to uncover the truth remains steadfast, guided by a shared hope for the safe return of those on board.

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