Malawi VP, 9 Others Confirmed Dead in Plane Crash

Saulos Chilima's aircraft went down in bad weather
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 11, 2024 6:24 AM CDT
No Survivors in Crash of Malawi VP's Small Plane
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima, left, and his wife, Mary, disembark from a plane upon his return from South Korea in Lillongwe, Sunday, June 9, 2024.   (AP Photo)

Malawi's vice president and nine others were killed in a plane crash, the country's president said Tuesday. The wreckage of the military plane carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima was located in a mountainous area in the north of the country after a search that lasted more than a day, per the AP. There were no survivors of the crash, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said in a live address on state television. Seven passengers and three military crew members were on board.

  • Bad weather: Air traffic controllers told the plane not to attempt a landing at Mzuzu's airport because of bad weather and poor visibility and asked it to turn back to Lilongwe, Chakwera said. Air traffic control then lost contact with the aircraft and it disappeared from radar.

  • The plane: The president described the aircraft as a small, propeller-driven plane operated by the Malawian armed forces. The tail number he provided shows it is a Dornier 228-type twin-propeller plane that was delivered to the Malawian army in 1988.
  • The VP: Chilima was serving his second term as vice president. He was also in the role from 2014-2019 under former President Peter Mutharika. He was a candidate in the 2019 Malawian presidential election and finished third, behind the incumbent, Mutharika, and Chakwera. The vote was later annulled by Malawi's Constitutional Court because of irregularities. Chilima then joined Chakwera's campaign as his running mate in a historic election rerun in 2020, when Chakwera was elected president. It was the first time in Africa that an election result that was overturned by a court resulted in a defeat for the sitting president.
  • Controversy: Chilima had previously been facing corruption charges over allegations that he received money in return for influencing the awarding of government procurement contracts for the Malawi armed forces and the police, but prosecutors dropped the charges last month. He had denied the allegations, but the case led to criticism that Chakwera's administration was not taking a hard enough stance against graft.
(More Malawi stories.)

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