Malawi Vice President and nine others killed in military plane crash

Wikipedia / Rainer Lesniewski /
June 11, 2024, 16:44 (UTC +3)

The wreckage of the military plane carrying Malawi’s Vice President, Saulos Chilima, has been found with no survivors, President Lazarus Chakwera has confirmed.

The aircraft went missing on June 10, 2024 when it failed to land at Mzuzu International Airport (ZZU).

“The search and rescue operation I ordered to find the missing plane that carried our vice president and nine others has been completed. The plane has been found. And I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy,” Chakwera said in a broadcasted announcement.

“Death is a reminder that we do not have control of so many things that affect our lives,” Chakwera added.

An aircraft carrying the Vice President of Malawi, Saulos Chilima, and nine other individuals is reported to be missing, a statement from the country’s President’s office has said.

The Dornier 228-202K aircraft, with registration, MAF-T03, also carried former first lady of Malawi Shanil Dzimbiri, left the country’s capital city of Lilongwe, at 09:17 local time on June 10, 2024. It was expected to land 45 minutes later at Mzuzu International Airport (ZZU), about 370 kilometers (230 miles) to the north.

Due to bad weather and poor visibility, air traffic control at ZZU airport advised the aircraft not to attempt to land and turn around.

However, a short time later air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft and it disappeared from radar. 

“I know this is a heartbreaking situation. I know we are all frightened and concerned. I too am concerned,” Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera said in an address on broadcast TV.

“But I want to assure you that I am sparing no available resources to find that plane. And I am holding on to every fiber of hope that we will find survivors,” Chakwera said.

A statement from Chakwera’s office said a search and rescue operation had been launched immediately by several agencies including the Malawi Defense Force, the Police Service, and the Department of Civil Aviation.

Chakwera said the group was traveling to attend the burial of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara. Three of those aboard were the military crew flying the plane.

Chilima was first sworn in as Vice President of the Republic of Malawi on May 30, 2014. He was sworn in for his second term for the same position in June 2022. 

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