A plane carrying the Vice President of Malawi and eight others crashed

LILONGWE, MALAWI – Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others perished in a tragic plane crash in a mountainous region near Mzuzu, President Lazarus Chakwera announced Tuesday. The small military aircraft was discovered after an extensive search spanning more than a day through dense forests and rugged terrain.

President Chakwera, addressing the nation on state television, expressed profound sorrow over the incident. “It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of this devastating tragedy,” he said. “The search and rescue team located the wreckage near a hill, completely destroyed with no survivors.”

The ill-fated flight carried Chilima, 51, along with former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, the ex-wife of former President Bakili Muluzi, five other passengers, and three military crew members. The group was en route to Mzuzu to attend the funeral of a former government minister. Chilima had recently returned from an official visit to South Korea on Sunday.

The aircraft lost contact with air traffic controllers during what was expected to be a brief 45-minute journey from the capital, Lilongwe, to Mzuzu. Controllers had advised the pilot to return to Lilongwe due to adverse weather conditions and poor visibility, but communication was lost shortly thereafter.

The search operation mobilized approximately 300 police officers, 200 soldiers, and local forest rangers, highlighting the extensive effort to locate the missing plane. Chilima was in his second term as vice president, having previously served from 2014 to 2019 under former President Peter Mutharika.

Chilima had recently been cleared of corruption charges, which had been dropped last month. He had consistently denied any wrongdoing.