Image Source : SAULOS CHILIMA (X) Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima

A plane carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine other people has gone missing after it failed to make a scheduled landing on Monday, CNN reported citing the presidential office. The Malawi Defense Force Aircraft carrying Chilima and others left the capital of Lilongwe at 9:17 am (local time) but did not reach its destination.

“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. The aircraft had been scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport at 10:02 a.m., according to the statement.

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

Chilima’s wife, Mary, and a number of officials from the vice-president’s United Transformation Movement (UTM) party were on the plane when it went missing. After being told of the incident by Defence Force’s commander, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera cancelled his scheduled flight to the Bahamas.

“The public will be updated of any developments on the situation as facts are established,” the president’s office said. The reason for the aircraft’s disappearance is not yet known, General Valentino Phiri told the Malawi President.

Chilima was on his way to represent the government at the burial of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara, who died three days ago. He has been the Vice President of the landlocked African country since 2014. Before his career in politics, he held key leadership roles in multinational companies like Unilever and Coca Cola. He has two children.

Born on February 12, 1973, Chilima is a business executive-turned-politician who holds a PhD in Knowledge Management from the University of Bolton, a Master’s degree in Economics as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, Computer Science and Economics from the University of Malawi. He was sworn in for his second term as Vice President in 2020.


Last month, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials died in a helicopter crash. The chopper crashed in Jolfa in the mountainous northwestern region of the country on May 19. Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province in the early hours of the next day.


(with inputs from Reuters)

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