close
Saturday June 22, 2024

Malawi VP Saulos Chilima, 9 others killed in plane crash

Military aircraft had 10 passengers onboard, including Vice President Saulos Chilima, former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri

By Web Desk
June 11, 2024
Saulos Chilima has been vice-president for 10 years.  — AFP/File
Saulos Chilima has been vice-president for 10 years.  — AFP/File

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera announced Tuesday that Vice President Saulos Chilima has been killed in a plane crash along with nine other passengers, CNN reported. 

“The search and rescue operation I ordered to find the missing plane that carried our vice president and nine others has been completed. The plane has been found. And I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy,” Chakwera said.

Rescuers had been combing a 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 said other countries, including Malawi's neighbours, had been aiding the search effort, with support including helicopters and drones.

The group departed just after 9:00am (0700 GMT) from Lilongwe on Monday to attend the funeral of a former cabinet minister some 370 kilometres (230 miles) away in Mzuzu.

Malawi´s former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on board.

Chakwera said he had previously flown on the same aircraft for similar trips. The crew had successfully operated it just hours before the accident, he added.

"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.


With additional input from AFP.