Malawi vice president dead after plane crash

The president of Malawi announced on Tuesday that the plane carrying his Vice President and nine others crashed, leaving no survivors.  

President Lazarus Chakwera said in a live address on state television that the small military plane, carrying 51-year-old VP Saulos Chilima, crashed in a mountainous area with dense forests near the northern city of Mzuzu in the southern African nation, per Fox News

"I'm deeply saddened. I'm sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy," Chakwera said. "The search and rescue team has found the aircraft near a hill ... they have found it completely destroyed with no survivors." 

Also on board was reportedly former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, the ex-wife of former President Bakili Muluzi, along with three military crew members and five other passengers. Chilema and the other passengers were on their way to the burial of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara, who had passed away three days prior. 

The Malawi Defense Force aircraft had reportedly gone "off the radar" shortly after it took off from the airport in the capital of Lilongwe Monday and aviation officials were unsuccessful in making contact with the aircraft, sparking a search and rescue operation ordered by Chakwera. The search involved around 300 police officers, 200 soldiers, and local forest rangers, according to authorities. 

Chilema had been the VP of Malawi since 2014 and was serving his second term. He leaves behind a wife and two children. 

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