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Malawi Vice President and nine others killed in plane crash

Malawi Vice President and nine others killed in plane crash

Malawi Vice President and nine others killed in plane crash

Malawi Vice President and nine others killed in plane crash

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  • Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, announced the death of Vice President Saulos Chilima in a plane crash.
  • The military plane, carrying Chilima and nine others, disappeared in Mzuzu due to bad weather.
  • The aircraft was destroyed with no survivors, and all passengers on board were killed on impact.
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Malawi’s President announced on Tuesday that the nation’s Vice President, Saulos Chilima, was killed in a plane crash after searchers located the wreckage of the aircraft in a foggy forest. The military plane, carrying Chilima, 51, and nine others, disappeared on Monday after it failed to land in the northern city of Mzuzu due to bad weather and was instructed to return to the capital, Lilongwe.

Addressing the nation, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera announced that the search and rescue team had found the aircraft destroyed with no survivors, as all passengers on board were killed on impact.

“Words cannot describe how heartbreaking this is,” he said, describing the accident as a “tragedy.”

A member of the military rescue team shared photographs with AFP showing army personnel standing on a foggy slope near debris bearing the registration number of the Malawi Army Air Wing Dornier 228-202K aircraft. Rescuers had been combing fog-cloaked forest south of Mzuzu on Tuesday after authorities located the last tower it transmitted to before the plane disappeared.

Earlier, army commander General Paul Valentino Phiri stated that other countries, including Malawi’s neighbors, had been aiding the search effort, with support including helicopters and drones. The group departed from Lilongwe just after 9:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday to attend the funeral of a former cabinet minister some 370 kilometers away in Mzuzu.

Malawi’s former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on board. Chakwera stated that he had previously flown on the same aircraft for similar trips. He added that the crew had successfully operated it just hours before the accident.

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“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.

First elected vice president in 2014, the charismatic yet stern-talking Chilima was a widely loved figure in Malawi, particularly among young people. However, during his second stint in the job in 2022, authorities stripped Chilima of his powers after arresting and charging him with graft over a bribery scandal involving a British-Malawian businessman.

Last month, a Malawian court dropped the charges against him, and he resumed his official duties.

“Chilima was a good man, a devoted father and husband, a patriotic citizen who served his country with distinction and a formidable vice president,” Chakwera said.

“I consider it one of the greatest honors of my life to have had him as my deputy and counselor for the past four years.”

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Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima arrests for corruption
Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima arrests for corruption

He is accused of accepting $280,000 (£230,000) in exchange for government contracts....

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