No survivors in Malawi VP's plane crash: president

By Jan van der Made with RFI

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said Tuesday there had been no survivors when a plane carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others crashed into a forest. 

"The plane has been found and I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you all, it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy," Chakwera said, in a televised address.

Earlier on, Malawian searchers found the wreckage of a plane that was carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima, a day after the aircraft went missing in bad weather.

The military plane carrying Chilima, 51, and nine others disappeared on Monday after it failed to land in the northern city of Mzuzu due to poor visibility and was told to return to the capital, Lilongwe.

Photographs shared with the French press agency AFP by a member of the military rescue team showed army personnel standing on a foggy slope near debris bearing the registration number of the Malawi Army Air Wing Dornier 228-202K aircraft.

According to theAviation Navigation Network, a total of 205 people died in 41 accidents with Dornier 228-type of aircrafts since 1981.

The worst crash with a Dornier 228 took place in 2019, when a plane of this type crashed on takeoff into a densely populated area of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo,killing 27 people, including six on the ground.

President Lazarus Chakwera was due to address the nation. It was not immediately clear if there were any survivors.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Rescuers had been combing a fog-cloaked forest south of Mzuzu on Tuesday, after authorities located the last tower it transmitted to before the plane disappeared.

Earlier, army commander General Paul Valentino Phiri said other countries, including Malawi's neighbours, had been aiding the search effort, with support including helicopters and drones.

The group departed just after 9:00 am local time from Lilongwe on Monday to attend the funeral of a former cabinet minister some 370 kilometres away in Mzuzu.

Malawi's former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on board.

(With newswires)

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