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Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima and 9 others killed in plane crash – vopbuzz

NEW DELHI: Malawi mourns loss of Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others follow fatal plane crashapproved by President Lazarus Chakwera Tuesday.
The wreckage of the military plane carrying Vice President Chilima was found in the rugged mountainous region in the northern part of the country after an extensive search that lasted more than a day.President Chakwera, in a somber live speech broadcast on state television, announced that unfortunately there were no survivors.
The tragic incident came to light when the plane carrying Vice President Chilima and former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri and others disappeared from radar during its scheduled 45-minute flight from the capital Lilongwe to Mzuzu in the north.
Due to adverse weather conditions and poor visibility, air traffic controllers diverted the aircraft away from Mzuzu airport and instructed it to return to Lilongwe. But then communication with the plane suddenly ceased, leaving authorities grappling with the developing crisis.
According to President Chakwera, the plane, which was identified as a small, propeller-driven aircraft operated by the Malawi armed forces, had seven passengers and three military crew on board. About 600 personnel, including soldiers, police officers, rangers and volunteers from organizations such as the Malawi Red Cross, were involved in the search and rescue operation, which covered a large forest plantation in the Viphya Mountains near Mzuzu.
Malawi armed forces commander General Valentino Phiri described the difficult terrain and dense forest cover as formidable obstacles hampering search efforts. Despite the frightening conditions, authorities remained determined to locate the wreckage and survivors.
President Chakwera expressed gratitude for the international support provided by the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway and Israel, which provided specialized technologies to assist in the search operation. Assistance was also requested from neighboring Zambia and Tanzania, and additional helicopters and drones were sent to support the search.
Chilima was serving his second term as vice president. He also served under former President Peter Mutharika from 2014 to 2019. He ran as a candidate in the 2019 Malawi presidential election and finished third behind incumbents Mutharika and Chakwera. The vote was later annulled by the Constitutional Court of Malawi due to irregularities.
Chilima later joined Chakwera’s campaign as his running mate in the historic 2020 election in which Chakwera was elected president. For the first time in Africa, an election overturned by a court resulted in the defeat of the incumbent president.
Chilima previously faced corruption charges over allegations he received money in exchange for influencing the awarding of government procurement contracts for Malawi’s armed forces and police, but prosecutors dropped the charges last month. He denied the allegations, but the case sparked criticism that Chakwera’s administration had not taken a tough enough stance against corruption.
(With input from institutions)
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