Malawi VP’s Plane Wreckage Found, No Survivors

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera announced Tuesday that there were no survivors after a plane carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine people crashed into a jungle.

“The plane has been found, and I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you all, it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy,” he said in a televised address.

The crash happened just weeks after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi perished in a helicopter crash.

Malawian searchers discovered the wreckage of the plane carrying Chilima on Tuesday, a day after it went missing in heavy weather.

The military plane carrying Chilima, 51, and nine others vanished on Monday after failing to land in the northern city of Mzuzu due to poor visibility and being instructed to return to Lilongwe, the capital.

A member of the military rescue squad sent photographs with AFP, showing army men standing on a misty slope near debris bearing the registration number of the Malawi Army Air Wing Dornier 228-202K aircraft.

Rescuers were exploring the fog-cloaked woodland south of Mzuzu on Tuesday after authorities discovered the last tower the jet transmitted to before disappearing.

Earlier, Army Commander General Paul Valentino Phiri stated that several countries, notably Malawi’s neighbours, had aided the search effort with helicopters and drones.

On Monday, the group left Lilongwe shortly after 9:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) to attend the burial of a former cabinet member in Mzuzu, which is around 370 kilometers (230 miles) away.

Shanil Dzimbiri, Malawi’s former First Lady, was also on board.

Chilima, Malawi’s first elected vice president in 2014, is a popular figure in the country, particularly among young people.

However, in 2022, during his second term, Chilima was removed from office after being arrested and charged with graft in connection with a bribery scandal involving a British-Malawian businessman.

Last month, a Malawian court dismissed the charges, and he resumed his official activities.

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