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Friday July 19, 2024

Malawi VP, nine others, killed in plane crash

By AFP
June 12, 2024
Vice President of Malawai Saulos Klaus Chilima (late) seen in this undated image.— AFP/file
Vice President of Malawai Saulos Klaus Chilima (late) seen in this undated image.— AFP/file 

LILONGWE, Malawi: Malawi´s Vice President Saulos Chilima was killed in a plane crash, the nation´s president said on Tuesday, 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 told to return to the capital, Lilongwe.

“The search and rescue team have found the aircraft ... completely destroyed with no survivors, as all passengers on board were killed on impact,” Malawi´s President Lazarus Chakwera said addressing the nation.

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

Photographs shared with AFP by a member of the military rescue team showed 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 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 9:00 am (0700 GMT) from Lilongwe on Monday to attend the funeral of a former cabinet minister some 370-kms away in Mzuzu. Malawi´s former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on board.