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Malawi Vice President Plane Crash: Nation in Mourning after Tragic Loss

Malawi Vice President Plane Crash

President of Malawi: Vice President killed in plane crash; US government expresses condolences

In a tragic plane crash in the Chikangawa forest, Malawian Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima, his wife, and eight others were killed. The Dornier 228-202K plane had departed from Lilongwe for Mzuzu but had to turn back due to bad weather before losing contact.

President Lazarus Chakwera expressed his grief over the loss of the vice president, describing him as a good man and a dedicated public servant. The search for the wreckage was led by the Malawian military with assistance from neighboring countries, hampered by bad weather and rough terrain. The US government offered condolences to Malawi over the tragic incident.

Key Concepts

  • Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera announced the tragic death of Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima in a plane crash.
  • The plane crashed in a dense forest in Chikangawa, with no survivors found among the wreckage.
  • The aircraft had departed from Lilongwe for Mzuzu but had to turn back due to bad weather before losing contact.
  • President Chakwera expressed his grief over the loss of Vice President Chilima, praising him as a good man and dedicated public servant.
  • The search for the plane was led by the Malawian military with assistance from neighboring countries, facing challenges due to bad weather and rough terrain.
  • Former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri and a three-member military crew were also among those killed in the crash.
  • Vice President Chilima, a popular figure in Malawi, had recently been cleared of bribery charges before the tragic accident.
  • The US government extended condolences to Malawi over the devastating loss of life in the plane crash.

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera said Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima, his wife, and eight others were killed when their plane crashed Sunday (June 10) in a dense forest.

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In a telephone address to the nation on Tuesday (June 11), President Chakwera said that a search and rescue team found the “completely destroyed” wreckage of the plane near a hillside in Malawi’s Chikangawa forest. No survivors were found, he said.

At 9:17 a.m. local time on Monday, 51-year-old Chilima and his entourage left the capital Lilongwe on a military plane and flew to the northern city of Mzuzu. When bad weather prevented the plane from landing at Mzuzu Airport, it was ordered back to the capital and was lost shortly thereafter.

In his speech, Chakwera called the accident “heartbreaking” and said he recognized the helplessness the nation is feeling because of the loss. He described the vice president as a good man, a dedicated father and husband who had served his country with distinction.

“I consider it one of the greatest privileges of my life to have had him as my deputy and advisor for the past four years,” he said of Chilima.

Paul Valentino Phiri, commander of the Malawi Defense Forces, said the Malawi military led the effort to find the plane and received help from neighboring countries. He said the search continued during the night but was hampered by bad weather and rough terrain.

The twin-engine, propeller-driven Dornier 228-202K aircraft was carrying former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri among its passengers, as well as three military crew members.

In his speech, President Chakwera said that he himself had been on the plane and that the crew had successfully operated it for several hours before the crash.

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Chilima, who was first elected vice president in 2014, is reportedly very popular in Malawi, especially among young people, and is seen as one of the presidential candidates in next year’s election.

However, he was stripped of power in 2022 after being arrested and charged in a bribery scandal involving a British-Malawian businessman.

Last month, a Malawian court dropped the charges against him, and he resumed official duties.

The U.S. government expressed its condolences over the deaths of Malawi Vice President Chilima and others in the plane crash.

“We express our deepest condolences to the government of Malawi,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement Tuesday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and with all Malawians at this sad time,” he said.

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