The aircraft debris was found after a day of searching in thickly forested mountains.

Rescue teams in Malawi have found the wreckage of a plane that was carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima but reported that there were no survivors.

The remains of the military plane were located on Tuesday in a mountainous area in the north of the country, a day after it went missing in bad weather.

INTERACTIVE_Malawi vice president dies in plane crash_JUNE11_2024-1718109461
(Al Jazeera)

President Lazarus Chakwera later said in a televised address that none of the 10 people on board – including the 51-year-old Chilima – had survived after the aircraft crashed into a forest.

Seven passengers, including a former first lady, and three military crew members were on board.

The plane left the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday but failed to make its scheduled landing at Mzuzu international airport about 370km (230 miles) to the north about 45 minutes later.

After the recovery of plane debris, President Chakwera said, “I’m deeply saddened. I’m sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team has found the aircraft near a hill … they have found it completely destroyed with no survivors.”

Chilima, serving his second term as vice president after swapping his support from Chakwera’s rival – former President Peter Mutharika – for the election in 2020, was seen as a potential candidate in next year’s presidential election.

That is despite an arrest in 2022 over allegations of bribery linked to supply contracts for the police and armed forces.

However, a court dropped the charges last month after the public prosecution director filed a notice for the case to be discontinued. Chilima had also denied wrongdoing. Critics say the case shows that Chakwera is not serious about his promises to fight corruption.

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