Malawi’s vice-president and all passengers on board military aircraft perish in crash



Published Jun 11, 2024


Malawi’s President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has announced the tragic death of vice-president Saulos Chilima and all passengers on board the military aircraft which went missing on Monday.

A visibly emotional Chakwera addressed the nation today at noon, announcing that there were no survivors on the plane which crashed in Chikangawa forest.

On Tuesday morning, The Star reported that the government of Malawi had asked neighbouring countries to help with efforts to locate the aircraft carrying Chilima and the nine other passengers on board.

The Malawi Defence Force aircraft “went off the radar” after it left the nation’s capital, Lilongwe.

“The search and rescue team have located the aircraft near a hill in Chikangawa forest and they have found it completely destroyed with no survivors as all passengers on board were killed on impact,” said Chakwera.

He added: “Words cannot describe how heartbreaking this is and I can only imagine how much pain and anguish you all must be feeling at this time as well as how much pain and anguish you all will be feeling in the coming days and weeks”.

Chakwera said as they mourn this terrible tragedy, he also knows that going through such a terrible loss makes people feel helpless and lost.

“As death has always had a way of reminding us that we do now have control over so many things that affect our lives and those we love. We feel helpless because we know that the people who perished in this tragic and terrible accident could have been anyone of us,” he said.

President Chakwera on Monday said he emerged from an emergency cabinet meeting that he convened to update the senior government officials about the latest developments in the search of the missing aircraft that carried Chilima, from Lilongwe to Mzuzu to attend the funeral of former attorney-general and minister of justice, Ralph Kasambara.

The vice-president was travelling with nine other individuals on board, including Lukas Kapheni, Chisomo Chimaneni, Gloria Mtukule, Shanil Dzimbiri, Dan Kanyemba, Abdul Lapukeni, as well as Colonel Sambalopa, Major Selemani, and Major Aidin, who were the MDF officers operating the aircraft. However, upon arrival in Mzuzu, the pilot was unable to land the plane due to poor visibility caused by bad weather. Aviation authorities advised the aircraft to return to Lilongwe but authorities soon lost contact with the aircraft.

The Star