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Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima among 10 killed in plane crash

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The wreckage of the plane (Credit: Local media)

Rescue workers in Malawi have found the wreckage of a plane which was carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others when it disappeared from radar, officials say. There are no survivors.

The wreckage of the Dornier 228 twin-turboprop was found on the side of a mountain in Chikangawa forest on Tuesday morning, nearly 24 hours after the search began.

In an address to the nation, President Lazarus Chakwera confirmed that no one had survived the crash. The bodies of all ten victims were later recovered and flown by helicopter to the capital Lilongwe.

Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima

Chakwera described Chilima as a man of honour, a great father and husband, as well as a patriot who served his nation.

“I consider it one of my great honors to be deputised by him in the last four years,” Chakwera said, conveying his condolences to the nation and the families of those who died in the crash.

“I can only imagine how much pain and anguish you all must be having at this point in time,” the president said.

The accident happened on Monday morning during a 45-minute flight from Lilongwe to Mzuzu, where Chilima was going to attend the funeral of lawyer and former justice minister Ralph Kasambara.

Chakwera said the plane was unable to land in Mzuzu due to bad weather and was told to return to the capital, after which it crashed in Chikangawa forest.

Chilima, who was 51, had served as vice president since February 2020. He also served as vice president from 2014 to 2019 and held a number of other positions, including minister of economic planning and development.

Vice President Chilima had recently attended the Korea-Africa Summit in South Korea, where he met with former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and other officials. He returned to Malawi on Sunday.

Other victims of Monday’s crash were identified as former First Lady Patricia Shanil Muluzi, Lucas Kapheni, Chisomo Chimaneni, Shanil Dzimbiri, Dan Kanyemba, Abdul Lapukeni, Colonel Sambalopa, Major Selemani and Major Aidin.

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