The vice president of Malawi confirmed the death after the plane crash

June 11, 2024, 14:21 | Updated: June 11, 2024, 14:22

Malawi Defense Force aircraft

A Malawi Defense Force aircraft “disappeared from radar” on Monday morning.

Photo: Getty

The plane carrying the vice president of Malawi was destroyed and no one survived, said President Lazarus Chakwera.

Saulos Chilima and nine others were on a Malawi Defense Force plane that “went off the radar” on Monday morning after leaving the capital Lilongwe.

The plane was scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport in the north of the country just after 10 a.m. local time, but was flying in poor weather.

Efforts to find the plane were made by soldiers who searched the Chikangawa forest at night and early in the morning.

President Chakwera said during a press conference on Tuesday that the commander of the Malawi Defense Force had informed him that the search and rescue operation had ended and the plane had been found.

President Chakwera said he was “deeply saddened and apologetic”, confirming that the rescue team found the plane completely destroyed.

President Lazarus Chakwera ordered a search and rescue operation

President Lazarus Chakwera ordered a search and rescue operation.

Photo: Getty

The vice president and president represented different political parties, but formed an alliance during the 2020 election.

President Chakwera paid tribute to Dr Chilima, describing him as a “good man”, a “dedicated father” and an “extraordinary Vice President”.

“I consider it one of the greatest honors of my life to have him as my deputy and advisor,” he added.

He said the military was transporting the remains of Dr Chilima and other victims to Lilongwe and that funeral arrangements would be announced.

According to news agency AFP, Dr Chilima had been vice-president of Malawi since 2014 and was a popular figure in the country, especially among the younger generation.

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The president ordered a search and rescue operation on Monday after unsuccessful attempts to contact the plane.

He canceled a flight to the Bahamas scheduled for Monday evening after the commander of the Defense Forces informed him of the incident.

Local media reported that Dr Chilima was traveling to represent the government at the funeral of former cabinet member Ralph Kasambara.

Kunkuyu said: “The airport where he was scheduled to land, located in the northern part of Mzuzu, was the closest to the burial site.”

Dr Chilima was arrested and charged after Malawi’s corruption watchdog alleged he accepted money in exchange for the award of government contracts in 2022, but a court last month dropped the charges without giving a reason.

His lawyer Khumbo Soko said in May: “We do not know the reasons for the discontinuation. Suffice it to say that only Parliament has the power to know.”