Minister of Transport Francis Kasaila has said President Peter Mutharika has been briefed on the incident where a man managed to board a plane grounded on the runway at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA), Malawi’s major international airport, and spent the whole night in the plane without being detected.
Kasaila said government was working on getting to the bottom of the incident.
The man is yet to undergo a medical test over his suspected mental illness .
KIA Police Public Relations Officer Sapulani Chitonde identified the man as James Govati, 25, from Kampachika Village, TA Mazengera in Lilongwe.
He reportedly removed the emergency exit door of the plane, a Q400 Bombardier belonging to Malawian Airlines, to make his way into the plane at around 3am Sunday and was only detected several hours later by engineers who noticed that the plane’s door had been removed.
According to Chitonde, when the police questioned the man he said he wanted to travel to South Africa for medical treatment.
Malawian Airlines spokesperson Ovixlela Bunya confirmed told the local media that they are “still investigating” the matter, but pointed out that the plane had no scheduled flight on Sunday morning.
“The engineers went to check why the door was open and realised it had been removed, upon reaching the plane they saw a man inside and the man started running away from them. He was at the back of the plane and started running towards the cockpit,” said Bunya as quoted in The Nation.
Bunya said safety is Malawi Airlines “top most priority” hence they are making “every effort to establish how this person managed to get inside the plane.”