Malawi VP, nine others killed in plane crash

Published June 12, 2024
Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima arrives at a polling station in Lilongwe, Malawi May 21, 2019 in this still image obtained from Reuters TV video.
Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima arrives at a polling station in Lilongwe, Malawi May 21, 2019 in this still image obtained from Reuters TV video.

LILONGWE: 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 mist-shrouded 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.

Photographs shared by a member of the military rescue team showed army personnel standing on a foggy slope near debris bearing the registration number of the Dornier 228-202K aircraft operated by the Malawi Army Air Wing “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.” 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.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2024

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