Home NewsAfrica Malawi Mourns as Vice President Saulos Chilima Dies in Plane Crash

Malawi Mourns as Vice President Saulos Chilima Dies in Plane Crash

by Thaabit Kamaar
Image Source: AP News

Malawi – On Tuesday, President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi confirmed the death of Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others following the discovery of a military aircraft wreckage with no survivors.

Vice President Chilima was reportedly on official government business, travelling with approximately ten people, including former First Lady Patricia Muluzi. The group was en route to attend the funeral of a former government minister.

Malawian journalist Ephraim Mkali Banda criticised the government for its delayed response to the missing aircraft. Reporting from the search site, Banda highlighted the concerning delay between the initial reports of the missing plane and the commencement of official search efforts.

Banda stated that despite reports surfacing on social media around 10:30 a.m. indicating the plane was missing, the government confirmed the incident later in the day and launched search operations.

“It was around half past ten in the morning when reports indicating the missing plane surfaced on social media. However, the government came to light to specify around five in the evening. It was then that the government announced the plane carrying the Vice President was missing.”

On Monday morning, the Vice President was travelling on a military aircraft that departed from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. The plane missed its scheduled landing at an airport in the northern part of the country due to poor visibility caused by bad weather. During the return journey, all communications were lost, and the plane seemingly vanished.

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Criticism of the Search Operations for the Vice President

Reports indicated that the crash site was in a mountainous area of the Chikangawa forest. The plane had been destroyed, and everyone on board perished upon impact. Aware of the rugged terrain and dense forest area, Banda criticised the initial search efforts, which were hindered by a lack of technology and proper equipment.

He stated that the initial search operations relied heavily on information from locals and manual searches along the roads. However, after nearly a day and a half of searching, the Malawian armed forces found the wreckage.

“Searching began yesterday at around 7:30 p.m., but it wasn’t what we could call a thorough search. People were just moving along the road, relying on information they received from locals in the area where the plane was suspected to have crashed.”

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