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Malawi's vice president and nine other die in plane crash

MALAWIAN vice-president Saulos Chilima and nine other people died when the small military plane they were travelling in crashed in bad weather in a mountainous region in the north of the country, the president said today.

President Lazarus Chakwera announced in a live address on state television that the wreckage of the plane had been located after a search of more than a day in thick forests and hilly terrain near the northern city of Mzuzu.

He said the wreckage was found near a hill and the plane had been “completely destroyed” and everyone onboard was killed on impact.

Mr Chakwera said he had been informed by the head of Malawi’s armed forces that the plane had been found and “I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy.”

Former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, the ex-wife of former president Bakili Muluzi, was also on the plane, the president had said.

There were seven passengers and three military crew members onboard.

The group was traveling to Mzuzu to attend the funeral of a former government minister. Mr Chilima had just returned from an official visit to South Korea on Sunday.

Hundreds of soldiers, police officers and forest rangers had been searching for the plane since it went missing on Monday morning while making the 45-minute flight from the southern African nation’s capital, Lilongwe, to Mzuzu, 230 miles to the north.

Air traffic controllers told the plane not to attempt a landing at Mzuzu’s airport because of bad weather and poor visibility and asked it to turn back to Lilongwe, Mr Chakwera said in an address late on Monday night.

Air traffic control then lost contact with the aircraft and it disappeared from radar, he said.

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