Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima, 9 others killed in plane crash

Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine other people, including his wife, were killed as the plane they were onboard crashed in the Chikangawa mountain range, said President Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday.

Saulos Klaus Chilima, Malawi, Vice President of Malawai (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)(AFP)

Chakwera said in his statement, “I’m deeply saddened, I’m sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team has found the aircraft near a hill. They have found it completely destroyed with no survivors.”

The President further said, “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 and leaving us all devastated.”

The aircraft carrying Chilima, who was being seen as the presidential candidate in next year’s general elections in Malawi, went missing on Monday. The plane was scheduled to land in the Mzuzu airport at 10:02 a.m. However, the plane was unable to land due to bad weather and poor visibility.

It was ordered to return to Lilongwe but went off the radar and aviation authorities could not make contact with it. Chakwera said all passengers on board were killed on impact and that the military was bringing their remains back to the capital.

After the flight went missing on Monday, many countries, including the United States, offered technological support to Malawi for the search operations.

Chilima, aged 51, was one of the top potential presidentian candidates for the 2025 elections in Malawi. He was arrested in 2022 on graft allegations, amid reports that he had received kickbacks from a businessman for government contracts.

The charges were however denied by Chilima. The charges against the vice president were dropped by the national prosecutor in May this year, who eventually registered a notice for the discontinuation of the case.

(With inputs from agencies)

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