News Brief

After Iranian President Raisi, Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima Also Perishes In A Helicopter Crash

Swarajya Staff

Jun 11, 2024, 08:01 PM | Updated 08:01 PM IST

Saulos Chilima (Left)
Saulos Chilima (Left)

Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others, including his wife have tragically perished as their plane crashed in the Chikangawa mountain range.

This was announced by President Lazarus Chakwera announced on Tuesday (11 June).

Chakwera expressed his sorrow, stating, “I'm deeply saddened to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team has located the aircraft near a hill, finding it completely destroyed with no survivors.”

This tragedy appears very similar to the recent accident of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and members of his team, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who also died in a helicopter crash.

Despite the aircraft’s reliable track record and the crew's experience, something went horribly wrong during its flight back to Lilongwe, causing it to crash and leaving the nation devastated, Chakwera added.

The aircraft carrying Chilima, a potential presidential candidate for next year's general elections in Malawi, went missing on Monday.

It was scheduled to land at Mzuzu airport at 10:02 a.m., but bad weather and poor visibility prevented the landing. The plane was ordered to return to Lilongwe but went off the radar, and aviation authorities lost contact with it.

President Chakwera has confirmed that all passengers were killed on impact and that the military was bringing their remains back to the capital.

Following the disappearance, several countries, including the United States, offered technological support for the search operations.

Chilima, 51, was seen as a leading candidate for the 2025 presidential elections in Malawi. He was arrested in 2022 on graft allegations, accused of receiving kickbacks from a businessman for government contracts.

However, these charges were denied by Chilima and were eventually dropped by the national prosecutor in May of this year, who filed a notice for discontinuation of the case.

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