Malawi Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima and 9 Others Die in Plane Crash

Malawi Dr. Saulos Chilima Plane Crash
Malawi’s Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima, along with his wife and 8 others, tragically lost their lives in a plane crash in the Chikangawa mountain range, as announced by the government on Tuesday. President Lazarus Chakwera has declared Tuesday as a national day of mourning.

The Office of the President and Cabinet confirmed the unfortunate news on Tuesday morning, following an extensive search effort in the forested area of the northern Malawi mountains. The military plane crashed on Monday morning shortly after departing from the capital, Lilongwe.

Dr. Saulos Chilima, aged 51, and the other passengers were en route to attend the funeral of the country’s former attorney general when their plane disappeared from radar. Air traffic officials reported that poor visibility prevented the plane from landing at Mzuzu airport, approximately 200 miles north of Lilongwe. The pilot was advised to return to Lilongwe before the flight vanished.

President Chakwera addressed the nation on Tuesday, revealing that Dr. Saulos Chilima, his wife, seven military officers, and another passenger were aboard a small military plane, identified as a Dornier 228-type twin-propeller aircraft. This information was cross-referenced by the Associated Press with data provided by the ch-aviation website.

Dr. Saulos Chilima had been considered a potential candidate for the upcoming presidential election, despite previous controversy. In 2022, he was arrested on corruption charges amid allegations of receiving kickbacks from a businessman for government contracts. Dr. Chilima consistently denied these allegations, and last month, the national prosecutor dropped the case.

President Chakwera assured the nation in a televised address on Monday night that search and rescue efforts would persist until Dr. Saulos Chilima’s plane was located.

“He described the situation as incredibly tragic, expressing that it deeply saddens and concerns us all.”

Several countries, including the United States, offered technological support in the search operation. The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe expressed deep concern over the crash and extended assistance, including the deployment of a Defense C-12 aircraft.

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