A plane carrying vice president of Malawi vanished during a short flight to neighboring city

A plane carrying the vice president of Malawi and nine other people vanished on Monday.

Saulos Chilima, Malawi's 51-year-old vice president, took off at 9:17am this morning on a Malawi Defense Force aircraft from the southeast African country's capital, Lilongwe.

But what should have been less than an hour-long flight turned out to be a days-long search when the plane "disappeared from radar" and never made it to the nearby city of Mzuzu.

So far, search and rescue teams have turned up empty-handed.

"The Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed that it has not landed at any of the airports," said an aide to the vice president, via The New York Times. From NYT:

The aircraft disappeared from radar and aviation authorities have been unable to establish contact with it.

The vice president was on his way to attend the funeral of the country's former attorney general, Ralph Kasambara. But severe weather in Mzuzu, the flight's destination, prevented the plane from landing, said Lucky Sikwese, an aide in the vice president's office. …

Authorities have not located a potential crash site. As darkness fell, military and police officers continued the search by vehicle and on foot, but struggled to comb through the thick forests in Malawi's north, local media reported.

Mr. Chilima, 51, was a telecommunications executive before entering Malawi's political scene a decade ago. In late 2022 he became embroiled in a corruption scandal and was arrested by the country's Anti-Corruption Bureau over accusations that he received kickbacks from a businessman in exchange for government contracts.

Mr. Chilima denied any wrongdoing, but the accusations tarnished a government that had sworn to clean up corruption in what is one of Africa's poorest countries. Last month, authorities in Malawi abandoned the case and withdrew all charges against Mr. Chilima.

Mr. Chilema was planning to run for president in 2025. (More details in CNN video below, posted by Larry Madowo.)

Previously: Coast Guard rescues missing boaters who were fending off sharks with their hands