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Tragic Loss: Malawi’s Vice President Killed In Plane Crash

James King, MPA
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Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima, along with nine others, was tragically killed in a plane crash on Monday. The military plane carrying the Vice President went missing after taking off from Lilongwe, the capital, at 9:17 a.m., destined for Mzuzu International Airport. The crash site was later identified in the Chikangawa mountain range, confirming the loss of all on board.

President Lazarus Chakwera declared Tuesday a national day of mourning following the devastating news. The president’s office confirmed that the search and rescue operation, which lasted over a day, ended with the discovery of the crash in a remote, forested area. Initial reports had speculated that Chilima’s wife, Mary, was also on the plane, but later updates clarified that she was not among the passengers.

The plane, a Dornier 228-type twin propeller, had been in service since 1988. It lost contact with air traffic control due to poor visibility while attempting to land at Mzuzu International Airport. The pilot was advised to return to Lilongwe when the aircraft went off radar, leading to an extensive search operation involving both national and international efforts.


Vice President Chilima, 51, was a significant political figure in Malawi, viewed by many as a potential candidate for the upcoming presidential election. His untimely death is a major blow to the nation. Chilima had previously faced graft allegations, which he consistently denied. The charges were dropped last month, allowing him to focus on his political career.

In a heartfelt address, President Chakwera expressed his sorrow and the collective grief of the nation. He acknowledged the extensive support from other countries, including the U.S., which offered a Defense C-12 aircraft to aid in the search. The president assured the nation that the government is committed to uncovering the details of the crash and ensuring such a tragedy does not happen again.

As Malawi mourns the loss of its Vice President and the other victims, the focus now shifts to providing support for the families affected and maintaining stability in the nation’s leadership during this difficult time.