Published: 10:39, June 11, 2024 | Updated: 20:39, June 11, 2024
Malawi's vice president confirmed dead in plane crash
By Xinhua
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima (left) and his wife Mary disembark from a plane upon his return from South Korea in Lillongwe, June 9, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

LILONGWE – Vice President of Malawi Saulos Chilima and nine other individuals who were on board a military aircraft have been confirmed deceased after the aircraft went missing Monday morning, the country’s president, Lazarus Chakwera, said on Tuesday.

"I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team found the aircraft near a hill in the Chikangawa Forest," Chakwera said in a televised address.

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“They found it completely destroyed, with no survivors, as all passengers on board were killed on impact.”

Chilima was "a good man, a devoted father and husband, a patriotic citizen who served his country with distinction”, added the president.

The vice president was traveling to the funeral of the country's former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara, who was found dead at a lodge in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, on Friday. His body was buried Monday at his home village in Nkhata Bay, a few kilometers from Mzuzu Airport.

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The aircraft, a Donier 228 belonging to the Malawi Defense Force, failed to make its scheduled landing at Mzuzu Airport at 10:02 am (0802 GMT) Monday in northern Malawi, according to the country's Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba.

The aircraft returned due to bad weather, heading to Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe before it went off the radar. A search and rescue operation was launched by security agencies in the afternoon around the Chikangawa Forest where it was believed to have been lost.