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Malawi’s Vice Prest., 9 Officials Killed in Plane Accident

Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine other officials were killed in an aircraft accident, announced Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday.

After the plane failed to make a landing at Mzuzu International Airport, located roughly 380 kilometers (240 miles) north of the capital Lilongwe, it vanished from sight. In a speech to the country, Chakwera announced the location of the plane’s wreckage, according to CNN.

The President said that the plane was discovered “utterly destroyed” next to a hill in the northern Malawi Chikangawa Forest. “Words cannot express how tragic this is”, he added.

“A good man, a devoted father and husband, (and) a patriotic citizen who served his country with distinction,” was how Chakwera honored his deputy.

He brought attention to how horrible the disaster was by revealing to the media that he had personally flown on the same aircraft before.

The president informed reporters on Monday night that due to low visibility, air traffic control had ordered the vice president’s jet not to attempt a landing and to return to the capital. Shortly afterward, the authorities initiated a search and rescue mission after losing communication with the aircraft.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Malawi Defence Force said it had dispatched drones and at least 200 soldiers to hunt for the jet in the Chikangawa Forest Reserve, where signals of its whereabouts were last received.

According to Force Commander Paul Valentino Phiri, rescue activities have been delayed due to severe weather.

The vice president and nine other victims will be laid to rest in “a dignified manner,” Chakwera said, adding that plans are already on to bring their bodies to the capital.