Malawi's Vice President confirmed dead in plane crash

Lilongwe, June 11 Malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima, along with nine other individuals who were on board a military aircraft, have been confirmed dead after the aircraft went missing on Monday morning, President Lazarus Chakwera announced on Tuesday.

The wreck of a plane carrying the Vice President has been found with no survivors, President Chakwera said.

Chilima, 51, was travelling to a funeral of the country's former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara, who was found dead in a room at a lodge in Lilongwe on Friday.

The plane, a military aircraft, failed to land at its intended destination at Mzuzu Airport in northern Malawi due to adverse weather conditions, and the pilot was advised to return to Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe before the aircraft went off the radar around 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) on Monday.

Soldiers had been searching Chikangawa Forest overnight and into the morning in an effort to find the plane.

In a news briefing on Tuesday, President Chakwera said the Malawi Defence Force commander informed him that the search and rescue operation has been completed and the plane was found. Chakwera said he was "deeply saddened and sorry" to inform Malawians of the terrible tragedy, the BBC reported.

He said the rescue team found the aircraft completely destroyed.

Chakwera paid tribute to Chilima, describing him as "a good man", "devoted father" and "formidable VP".

"I consider it one of the great honours of my life to have had him as a deputy and as a counsellor," he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Source: IANS

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