Tragic: Malawi’s Vice President Killed in Plane Crash on Chikangawa Mountain Range, National Mourning Declared

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Malawi’s Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima, tragically lost his life along with nine others when the plane they were traveling in crashed in the Chikangawa mountain range, as confirmed by the government on Tuesday. President Lazarus Chakwera declared a national day of mourning to honor the lives lost in the devastating crash. Initially, there were reports indicating that Chilima’s wife, Mary, was also on board the ill-fated plane, but later, there was uncertainty surrounding her presence.

Following an extensive search effort in the forested area of the northern Malawian mountains, the Office of the President and Cabinet announced on Tuesday morning that all individuals aboard the aircraft had perished. The tragic incident occurred on Monday morning as the military plane departed from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. The plane was en route to attend the funeral of the country’s former attorney general before it tragically disappeared from radar.

President Chakwera revealed in a national address that Dr. Saulos Chilima, seven military officers, and two other passengers were on board the small military plane, which was identified as a Dornier 228-type twin propeller plane delivered to the Malawian army in 1988. Despite efforts to determine the exact details surrounding the crash, questions arose regarding the whereabouts and condition of Chilima’s wife, Mary, casting a somber shadow over the harrowing incident.

Dr. Saulos Chilima, aged 51, was viewed as a potential contender for the upcoming presidential election in Malawi. However, his image was marred by controversy in 2022 when he was arrested on graft allegations, allegedly involving kickbacks from a businessman in exchange for government contracts. Despite consistently denying the charges, the case against him was abruptly dropped last month by the national prosecutor.

As the nation mourns the loss of the esteemed individuals, both Malawi and international entities have joined forces in a relentless search and rescue operation to locate the wreckage of the ill-fated plane. Countries like the United States have extended their support by providing crucial technological assistance in the ongoing search efforts. President Chakwera assured the nation that the search and rescue operation would persist until closure was achieved, emphasizing the heartbreaking nature of the situation that has plunged the country into mourning.