Malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima, 9 Others Killed In Plane Crash

The plane, carrying ten people including the 51-year-old VP and former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, departed from the southern African nation's capital, Lilongwe, at 9:17 a.m. on Monday.
Malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima killed in plane crash

Malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima killed in plane crash

Malawi's government said in statement that its vice president Saulos Chilima and nine others on board a military aircraft were killed after the plane crashed. The plane had earlier gone missing and a search operation was launched. However, the search ended tragically and all ten onboard the plane were confirmed dead.
"The Office of the President and Cabinet wishes to inform the general public that the search and rescue operation for the Malawi Defense Force Aircraft that went missing on Monday, 10th June 2024, has regretfully ended in tragedy. The aircraft, which was carrying the Vice President, the Right Honourable Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, and nine others, was found this morning in the Chikangawa fores," a press statement read.
It added, "Unfortunately, all on board have perished in the crash The search and rescue operation, which was launched immediately after the aircraft went off the radar, has been conducted by various agencies, including the Malawi Defense Force, the Police Service, and the Department of Civil Aviation."
President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera was informed of the tragic outcome and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the Vice President and all those who have lost their lives in this tragic incident. The President also declared a national day of mourning and has ordered that all flags fly at half-mast from today until the day of the funeral.

What We Know About The Plane Crash

The Malawi Defense Force Aircraft "that left Lilongwe today, Monday 10th June 2024 at 09:17 Hours, carrying the Vice President, the Right Honourable Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, and nine others, failed to make its scheduled landing at Mzuzu International Airport at 10:02," a had earlier statement read.
The 51-year-old leader's party United Transformation Movement (UTM) started looking for him as he was expected to connect to Nkhata Bay for the burial of the late Ralph Kasambala. The authorities at the airport also confirmed the news that VP Saulos Chilima was untraceable and the aircraft in which he was traveling had not made the scheduled landing.
Earlier, President Chakwera said the plane, carrying ten people including the 51-year-old VP and former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, departed from the southern African nation's capital, Lilongwe, at 9:17 a.m. on Monday. It was expected to land at Mzuzu International Airport at 10 a.m. However, due to bad weather and poor visibility, the plane decided to turn around without attempting a landing. Minutes later, air traffic control lost contact with the plane, and it disappeared from radar shortly afterward.
On Monday evening, telecommunications towers tracked the last known position of the aircraft to a 10-kilometer (6-mile) radius in one of the plantations. Chakwera said this area area is now the focus of the Malawi Defense Force's search and rescue operation.
"I know this is a heartbreaking situation. I know we are all frightened and concerned. I too am concerned,” Chakwera said in an address broadcast live on state TV channel MBC. "But I want to assure you that I am sparing no available resource to find that plane. And I am holding onto every fiber of hope that we will find survivors."
The president mentioned that the US, the UK, Norway, and Israel have offered assistance in the search operation. He assured the public that the search operations would continue through the night.
"I have given strict orders that the operation should continue until the plane is found," Chakwera said.

Who Was Saulos Chilima?

Saulos Klaus Chilima was a business executive turned politician. The 51-year-old leader assumed the VP office in June 2020 after a successful campaign as the running mate of incumbent Chakwera. The economist headed several companies such as Unilever, Coca-Cola and Airtel Malawi and was also part of the previous administration led by the former president Peter Mutharika.
Born on 12 February 1973, the vice president of the Republic of Malawi rose up the ranks after leading a successful career in marketing. Chilima spent most of his early life in Blantyre where his parents were working.
Chilima, a devout Roman Catholic, was married to Mary (née Chibambo). The couple raised two children, Sean and Elizabeth. The politician received his Ph.D in Knowledge Management from the UK's University of Bolton in August 2015.
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