Plane Carrying Malawi’s Vice President Crashes, Killing All On Board

A military plane carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others has crashed, resulting in the tragic loss of all passengers. The plane departed from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, at 9:17 a.m. on Monday but failed to reach its intended destination at Mzuzu International Airport. The crash site was later located in the Chikangawa mountain range after a prolonged search operation, confirming the deaths of everyone on board, including the Vice President.

President Lazarus Chakwera’s office issued a statement expressing deep sorrow and announcing a national day of mourning. The plane, a Dornier 228-type twin propeller, went off radar shortly after takeoff, prompting an extensive search and rescue mission. The president canceled his trip to the Bahamas to oversee the situation personally, underlining the gravity of the incident.

General Valentino Phiri, head of the Malawian armed forces, informed President Chakwera of the missing plane, leading to the immediate launch of a search operation. The president directed national and local authorities to locate the aircraft and ensure the safety of the passengers, but unfortunately, all on board were confirmed deceased.

Vice President Chilima, 51, was en route to attend the funeral of Malawi’s former attorney general. The flight was scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport, approximately 370 kilometers (230 miles) north of Lilongwe. Poor visibility was reported at the airport, and the pilot was advised to return to Lilongwe when contact was lost.

The Vice President was a prominent figure in Malawi, seen as a potential candidate for the next presidential election. He had faced graft allegations in the past, which were dropped last month, allowing him to continue his political career. His death marks a significant loss for the nation.

As the country mourns this tragic event, international support has poured in, with several countries, including the United States, offering assistance in the search and rescue efforts. The focus now shifts to providing support for the families of the victims and ensuring the stability of Malawi’s leadership during this difficult time.

 

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