BREAKING: Military aircraft carrying Malawi’s Vice President, Saulos Chilima crashes with no survivor

Malawian searchers have discovered the wreckage of a plane carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima, a military source reported on Tuesday, a day after the aircraft went missing in bad weather.

The military plane, which included Chilima, 51, and nine others on board, disappeared on Monday. The plane failed to land in the northern city of Mzuzu due to poor visibility and was instructed to return to the capital, Lilongwe. Tragically, there were no survivors found in the wreckage.

Photographs shared with AFP by a member of the military rescue team showed army personnel standing on a foggy slope next to debris bearing the registration number of the Malawi Army Air Wing Dornier 228-202K aircraft.

President Lazarus Chakwera was expected to address the nation. It was not immediately clear if there were any survivors.

Rescuers had been searching a fog-covered forest south of Mzuzu on Tuesday, after authorities identified the last transmission tower contacted before the plane disappeared.

Earlier, army commander General Paul Valentino Phiri mentioned that other countries, including Malawi’s neighbors, were assisting the search effort, providing support such as helicopters and drones.

The group departed just after 9:00 am (0700 GMT) from Lilongwe on Monday to attend the funeral of a former cabinet minister approximately 370 kilometers (230 miles) away in Mzuzu.

Malawi’s former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on board.

First elected vice president in 2014, Chilima is a widely admired figure in Malawi, especially among young people, known for his charismatic yet stern demeanor.

However, in 2022, during his second term, Chilima was stripped of his powers after being arrested and charged with corruption in connection with a bribery scandal involving a British-Malawian businessman. Last month, a Malawian court dropped the charges, and he resumed his official duties.

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