President Chakwera: No resource spared in hunt for missing plane

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera. [FILE]

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has refuted claims that the search for the missing military aircraft, which was carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine other top officials, has been called off.

The President’s office had earlier been falsely quoted as announcing the cessation of the search following the alleged death of all passengers in a crash.

In a statement on Monday, July 10, Chakwera stressed his commitment to the ongoing search efforts.

 “We are sparing no available resources to find that plane,” he said.

Following an urgent Cabinet meeting, the President disclosed that international aid has been sought to expedite the search.

“We have already contacted our neighbouring countries, as well as development partners, including the US Government, the British Government, the Norwegian Government, and the Israeli Government, who have all offered support in different forms, including the use of specialised technologies that will enhance our capacity to find the plane sooner, and I am most grateful for this support,” he added.

Malawi Defence Forces are focusing their search within a ten-kilometre radius of Raiply, where the aircraft last made contact with a telecommunications tower.

“I know that some media outlets have reported that the search and rescue operation has been suspended, but this is false. MDF 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 explained.

The aircraft, carrying Chilima, departed from Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe at 9.17 AM local time, bound for Mzuzu to attend the funeral of Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara.

However, it encountered adverse weather conditions and lost contact with ground control shortly after diverting back towards Lilongwe.

President Chakwera has called for patience and cautioned against speculation during this critical period as the nation awaits the results of the search and rescue mission