Malawi announces 21-day mourning for Chilima Minister of Information and DigitaliSation Moses Kunkuyu made the announcement late Tuesday, adding that the remains of the vice president will be accorded state funeral status.

LILONGWE. –  Malawi has announced a 21-day mourning period for Vice President Saulos Chilima, who died in a plane crash Monday along with eight others onboard the aircraft.

Minister of Information and DigitaliSation Moses Kunkuyu made the announcement late Tuesday, adding that the remains of the vice president will be accorded state funeral status.

A special committee led by Justice Minister Titus Mvalo will coordinate arrangements for the funeral.

A sombre mood has befallen the country as the national flag and all other institutional flags fly at half-mast.

Chilima and his entourage, including former first lady Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri, were on their way to the funeral of former attorney general and justice minister Ralph Kasambara, when the crash happened due to bad weather, according to authorities. 

The plane was on a short flight from the capital, Lilongwe, to the northern city of Mzuzu when it went missing Monday morning. The president said air traffic controllers had told the plane not to land in Mzuzu because of bad weather and poor visibility and to return to Lilongwe. 

Hundreds of soldiers, police officers and forest rangers searched for more than 24 hours before the wreckage was discovered in a forest south of Mzuzu.

The remains of the victims were brought back to Lilongwe on a Zambian Air Force helicopter on Tuesday night. – Xinhua

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