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Malawi's Vice President among 10 confirmed dead in plane crash

Saulos Chilima during a Labour Day march on May 1, 2024 in Blantyre.   -  
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Cleared / AP


Malawi’s Vice-President, Saulos Chilima, was among 10 people killed when a small military plane crashed in a mountainous region in the north of the country, the president said in a live televised address on Tuesday.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane on Monday after telling the pilot to turn back to the capital, Lilongwe, due to bad weather.

"I'm deeply saddened, I'm sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team has found the aircraft near a hill. They have found it completely destroyed with no survivors," President Lazarus Chakwera said.

The president went on to praise the late vice-president, saying it had been an honour to work with him and that his passing was a "terrible loss" to his family and the country.

"Dr Saulos Chilima was a good man, a devoted father and husband, a patriotic citizen who served his country with distinction, and a formidable vice-president," he said.

He said the seven passengers and three crew members on board the plane were killed on impact and that the military was bringing their remains back to the capital.

The group, which included former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, had been traveling to the northern city of Mzuzu to attend the funeral of a former government minister.

Chilima, 51, was serving his second term as vice-president and was widely as a potential candidate in next year's presidential election.

In 2022, he was arrested over graft allegation, but the charges against him were dropped last month. He denied any wrongdoing.

Chakwera said funeral arrangements would be announced in due course.

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