Plane carrying Malawi Vice President vanishes after 'going off radar'

Plane carrying Malawi Vice President vanishes after 'going off radar' Plane carrying Malawi Vice President vanishes after 'going off radar'
  • This story is developing, more to follow

A military plane carying Malawi's vice president Saulos Chilima has gone 'off the radar' after taking off this morning, the country's government has revealed.

The plane, which was carrying nine other people, failed to land after taking off from the country's capital city, Lilongwe, at around 9am local time (7am BST) this morning.

Other passengers on the flight, which was supposed to land at Mzuzu International Airport in the country’s north just after 11am BST, included the vice president's wife, Mary, and several officials from his party, the United Transformation Movement.

They were travelling to represent the government at the funeral of a former cabinet minister, Ralph Kasambara, who died just three days ago.

'All efforts by aviation authorities to make contact with the aircraft since it went off the radar have failed thus far,' the government said in a statement.

It is still not known when or why the plane went down.

The nation's president Lazarus Chakwera has ordered regional and national forces to conduct an 'immediate search and rescue operation to locate the whereabouts of the aircraft', the statement added.

Chakwera, who was due to travel to the Bahamas for a working visit, has since cancelled his trip.

He added that the 'public will be updated of any developments on the situation as facts are established.'

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.

More to follow.

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