JUST IN: Wreckage of Missing Malawian VP’s Plane Found, No Survivors – Military

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Malawian search teams have located the wreckage of a plane carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima, confirming there were no survivors, according to a military source. The aircraft went missing on Monday amidst bad weather.

The military plane, which had Chilima, 51, and nine others on board, disappeared after failing to land in Mzuzu due to poor visibility. It was instructed to return to the capital, Lilongwe.

Photographs provided to AFP by a member of the military rescue team showed army personnel on a foggy slope near debris identified as part of the Malawi Army Air Wing Dornier 228-202K aircraft.

President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to address the nation. Initially, it was unclear if there were any survivors, but the military has now confirmed none survived the crash.

Rescuers had been searching a fog-shrouded forest south of Mzuzu on Tuesday, following the plane’s last transmission to a tower before it disappeared. Army commander General Paul Valentino Phiri mentioned that neighboring countries had been assisting the search with helicopters and drones.

The group departed from Lilongwe just after 9:00 am (0700 GMT) on Monday to attend the funeral of a former cabinet minister in Mzuzu, approximately 370 kilometers (230 miles) away. Malawi’s former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also among those on board.

Saulos Chilima, first elected as vice president in 2014, is a popular figure in Malawi, especially among the youth. However, in 2022, during his second term, he was stripped of his powers after being arrested on bribery charges linked to a British-Malawian businessman. Last month, a Malawian court dropped the charges, and he resumed his official duties.

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