Plane carrying Malawi vice-president and 9 others to a funeral remains missing after one day as President gives update

An aircraft carrying Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima and nine others to a funeral has still not been found, a statement from the president’s office has said. 

The Malawi Defence Force aircraft “went off the radar” after it left the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday morning, June 10, the statement added. 

The plane was supposed to land at Mzuzu International Airport in the country just after 10:00a.m. local time.

On Monday evening, President Lazarus Chakwera said a search and rescue operation was continuing. 

He said: “Soldiers are still on the ground carrying out the search and I have given strict orders that the operation should continue until the plane is found.”

He added that it was a “heart-breaking situation”. 

“I know that 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 and I am holding onto every fibre of hope that we will find survivors.” 

President Chakwera earlier cancelled his flight to the Bahamas, which was scheduled for Monday evening. 

The reason for the aircraft’s disappearance is not yet known, General Valentino Phiri told Mr Chakwera. 

Moses Kunkuyu, Malawi’s information minister, told the BBC efforts to find the aircraft are “intensive”. 

Mr Chilima was on his way to represent the government at the burial of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara, who died three days ago. 

Mr Kunkuyu said: “The airport he was to land, which is in the northern part of Mzuzu, was the closest to where the funeral was taking place.” 

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