Malawian President mourns VP, nine others killed in plane crash

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Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others were tragically killed in a plane crash, President Lazarus Chakwera announced on Tuesday.

The wreckage of the military aircraft was found in a foggy forest, concluding a desperate search after the plane went missing on Monday.

The military plane carrying Chilima, 51, and nine others failed to land in Mzuzu due to bad weather and was instructed to return to the capital, Lilongwe.

The aircraft lost contact and was subsequently located, destroyed, with no survivors.

“The search and rescue team have found the aircraft … completely destroyed with no survivors, as all passengers on board were killed on impact

“Words cannot describe how heartbreaking this is,” President Chakwera said, calling the incident a “terrible tragedy.”

Photographs shared with AFP by a member of the military rescue team showed personnel standing near debris bearing the registration number of the Malawi Army Air Wing Dornier 228-202K aircraft.Related News

Rescuers had been combing a foggy forest south of Mzuzu, where the plane last transmitted a signal.

Army commander General Paul Valentino Phiri noted that neighbouring countries had assisted in the search, providing helicopters and drones.

The group had departed from Lilongwe on Monday morning, heading to Mzuzu for the funeral of a former cabinet minister. Malawi’s former first lady, Shanil Dzimbiri, was also on board.

President Chakwera, who had previously flown on the same aircraft, expressed his sorrow and disbelief. “And yet, despite the track record of the aircraft and the experience of the crew, something terrible went wrong with that aircraft on its flight back to Lilongwe, sending it crashing down,” he said.

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Chilima, first elected as vice president in 2014, was a popular and charismatic leader, especially among young people. His career faced challenges in 2022 when he was arrested on corruption charges, which were dropped last month, allowing him to resume his duties.

“Chilima was a devoted father, husband, and a patriotic citizen who served with distinction. It was an honour to have him as my deputy and counsellor for the past four years,” Chakwera said.

The nation mourns the loss of Vice President Chilima and the others who perished in this devastating accident.

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