A military plane carrying Chilima, 51, and nine others went missing on Monday (File).

Malawi’s Vice President Saulus Chilima was killed in a plane crash, the country’s president said Tuesday, as searchers found the wreckage in a misty forest.

The military plane carrying Chilima, 51, and nine others went missing on Monday after it failed to land in the northern city of Muzu due to bad weather and was told to return to the capital, Lilongwe.

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera addressed the nation, saying, “Search and rescue teams have located the plane…totally destroyed and there are no survivors, as all the passengers on board have perished.” were killed.”

“Words cannot describe how heartbreaking this is,” he said, calling the crash a “terrible tragedy.”

Photos shared with AFP by a member of the military rescue team show army personnel standing on a misty slope near the wreckage, which bears the registration number of a Malawian Army Air Wing Dornier 228-202K aircraft.

Rescue workers were combing the fog-shrouded forest south of Mazuzu on Tuesday, when authorities located the last tower moved before the plane went missing.

Earlier, army commander General Paul Valentino Ferri said other countries, including Malawi’s neighbors, were helping with search efforts, including helicopters and drones.

The group left Lilongwe shortly after 9:00 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday to attend the funeral of a former cabinet minister 370 kilometers (230 miles) away in Mizu.

The former first lady of Malawi, Shanelle Zambri, was also on board.

Widely loved.

Chakwera said he had previously flown on the same aircraft for similar trips. He added that the crew had successfully operated it a few hours before the accident.

“And yet, despite the track record of the aircraft and the experience of the crew, something terrible went wrong with that aircraft on the return flight to Lilongwe, causing it to crash.”

First elected vice president in 2014, the charismatic but tough-talking Chilima was a well-liked figure in Malawi, especially among the youth.

But in 2022, during his second term in office, Chilima was stripped of his powers after he was arrested and charged in a bribery scandal involving a British-Malawian businessman.

Last month, a Malawian court dismissed the charges and he resumed his official duties.

“Chilema was a good man, a devoted father and husband, a patriotic citizen who served his country with distinction and a formidable Vice President,” Chakwera said.

“I consider it one of the greatest honors of my life to have him as my deputy and advisor for the past four years.”

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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