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Malawi vice president confirmed dead in forest plane crash on way to burial

Malawi vice president confirmed dead in forest plane crash on way to burial

There was no survivor in the wreck of a plane carrying Malawi’s vice-president when it was found on Tuesday.

President Lazarus Chakwera revealed the sad news, saying he was “deeply saddened and sorry” to inform Malawians of the terrible tragedy.

Saulos Chilima and nine others were flying within the country on Monday morning when their aircraft disappeared from airport radars.

The plane, a military aircraft, was flying in bad weather.

Soldiers had been searching Chikangawa Forest overnight and into the morning in an effort to find the plane.

READ ALSO: Search ongoing for missing aircraft carrying Malawi vice president

In a news briefing on Tuesday, President Chakwera said the Malawi Defence Force commander informed him that the search and rescue operation had been completed and the plane was found.

He said the rescue team found the aircraft completely destroyed.

The vice-president and president come from different parties but the two teamed up to form an alliance during the 2020 elections.

Mr Chakwera paid tribute to Dr Chilima, describing him as “a good man”, “devoted father” and “formidable VP”.

“I consider it one of the great honours of my life to have had him as a deputy and as a counsellor,” he added.

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

Former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on the flight, which took off from the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday morning.

It was meant to land at the airport in the northern city of Mzuzu, but was turned back because of poor visibility.

The military is transporting the remains of Dr Chiima and the other victims to Lilongwe, the president said, adding that funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

Dr Chilima is survived by his wife, Mary, and two children, Sean and Elizabeth.

 

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