Malawi VP's Plane found with no survivors, president says

The military aircraft was flying in bad weather conditions.

Rais Lazarus Chakwera
Image: Courtesy

The wreckage of a plane carrying Malawi's Vice President has been found with no survivors, President Lazarus Chakwera has announced.

Saulos Chilima and nine others were traveling within the country on Monday morning when their plane disappeared from airport radar.

The military aircraft was flying in bad weather conditions.

Soldiers were searching Chikangawa Forest in an effort to locate the plane.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, President Chakwera stated that the commander of the Malawi Defense Force had informed him that the search and rescue operation had concluded with the plane being found.

Mr. Chakwera said he was "deeply saddened and regretful" to inform Malawians about the tragic accident.

He mentioned that the rescue team found the plane completely destroyed.

The vice president and president come from different parties but had joined forces to form a coalition during the 2020 elections.

Dr. Chilima, 51, was on his way to represent the government at the funeral of former government minister Ralph Kasambara, who had died four days earlier.

The wife of former President Shanil Dzimbiri was also on the plane, which took off from the capital city, Lilongwe, on Monday morning.

The plane was supposed to land at an airport in the northern city of Mzuzu but was turned back due to poor visibility.

Dr. Chilima has been the Vice President of Malawi since 2014.

He was highly popular in Malawi, especially among the youth, according to AFP news agency.

However, Dr. Chilima was arrested and charged in 2022 on allegations that he accepted money in exchange for awarding government contracts.

Last month, the court dismissed the charges without providing reasons for the decision.

Dr. Chilima is married and has two children.