Johannesburg — Malawi’s Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima and 9 different individuals together with his spouse had been killed when the airplane they had been travelling in crashed within the Chikangawa mountain vary, the federal government mentioned Tuesday. President Lazarus Chakwera declared Tuesday a nationwide day of mourning.

“Unfortunately, all on board have perished within the crash,” the Office of the President and Cabinet mentioned in a Tuesday morning assertion. The affirmation got here after greater than a day-long search effort in a forested space within the mountains of northern Malawi. The navy airplane crashed Monday morning after it took off from the nation’s capital Lilongwe.

Chilima, 51, and the opposite passengers had been headed to attend the funeral of the nation’s former legal professional common when their airplane dropped off radar. Air site visitors officers mentioned the airplane had been unable to land at Mzuzu airport, about 200 miles north of the capital, attributable to poor visibility, and the pilot had been suggested to return to Lilongwe when the flight disappeared.

Malawi-Vice-President-Missing-Plane
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima and his spouse Mary disembark from a airplane upon their return from South Korea, in Lillongwe, Malawi, in a June 9, 2024 file photograph. A navy airplane carrying the Chilimas and eight others crashed on June 10, 2024, killing everybody on the plane, Malawi’s authorities mentioned.

STR/AP


Addressing the nation on Tuesday, Chakwera mentioned Chilima and his spouse, together with seven navy officers and one other passenger, had been in a a small navy airplane, mentioned by the Associated Press to have been a Dornier 228-type twin propeller airplane delivered to the Malawian military in 1988. The AP ascertained that info by cross-referencing the plane’s tail quantity, offered by Chakwera, with knowledge offered by the ch-aviation web site.  

Chilima, 51, had been seen in Malawi as a attainable contender for subsequent 12 months’s presidential election.

A considerably controversial determine, he’d been arrested in 2022 on graft allegations, amid experiences that he’d acquired kickbacks from a businessman for presidency contracts.

Chilima persistently denied the fees, proper up till final month, once they had been dropped by the nationwide prosecutor, who filed a discover for the discontinuation of the case.

In a televised nationwide tackle Monday evening, Chawera informed the nation that the search and rescue operation would proceed till Chilima’s airplane was discovered.

“I do know this can be a coronary heart breaking scenario,” he mentioned, “and we’re all frightened and anxious.”

Several international locations together with the United States offered technological assist within the search operation. 

In a statement posted Tuesday morning on social media, the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe mentioned it was “deeply involved by the information of the crash” and added a proposal of “all out there help together with a Defense  C-12 plane.”