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Malawi’s president says nine other people died in the plane crash



Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, pictured, said on Tuesday that Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine other people were killed on impact when their plane crashed after encountering bad weather conditions. File photo: Justin Lane/EPA-EFE

June 11 (UPI) — Authorities found the wreckage of the plane carrying Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine other people, and there was no one alive on board, President Lazarus Chakwera confirmed on Tuesday.

In an address to the nation, Chakwera said all 10 people on board the plane “were killed on impact” when it crashed while flying in bad weather after wreckage was found in the Chikangawa forest.

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“Words cannot describe how heartbreaking this is. I can only imagine how much pain and anguish you must be feeling right now,” Chakwera said

“Death reminds us that we have no control over many things that affect our lives.”

Chilima and former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri were on a military charter that took Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, north of Mzuzu, to attend the former minister’s funeral, but turned back due to poor weather conditions.

Authorities said Lukas Kapheni, Chisomo Chimaneni, Gloria Mtukule, Dan Kanyemba, Abdul Lapukeni, a military colonel and two majors were also on board the MAF-T03 military plane.

Chilima served as vice president for ten years and joined forces with Chakwera, crossing party lines to form an alliance ticket that allowed them to win the 2020 elections.

“Saulos Chilima was a good man, a devoted father and husband, a patriotic citizen who distinguished himself for his country,” Chakwera said. “He’s a great vice president. I consider it one of the greatest honors of my life to have had him as my deputy and advisor.”

Chilima, seen as a potential presidential candidate in the 2025 national elections, was arrested in 2022 for allegedly receiving payments in exchange for awarding government contracts, but those charges were dropped last month.