The wreck of a plane carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima has been found with no survivors, President Lazarus Chakwera said on Tuesday.

Mr Chilima and nine others were flying within the country on Monday morning when their aircraft disappeared from airport radars.

The plane, a military aircraft, was flying in bad weather, according to aviation authorities.

Soldiers had been searching Chikangawa Forest overnight and into the morning in an effort to find the plane, according to the BBC.

By Tuesday afternoon, President Chakwera said the Malawi Defence Force commander informed him that the search and rescue operation had been completed and the plane was found.

Mr Chakwera said he was “deeply saddened and sorry” to inform Malawians of the terrible tragedy.

He said the rescue team found the aircraft completely destroyed.

The president declared Tuesday a national day of mourning.

“Unfortunately, all on board have perished in the crash,” the Office of the President said in a statement.

Mr Chilima, 51, was on his way to represent the government at the burial of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara, who died three days ago.

Mr Chakwera paid tribute to Mr Chilima, describing him as “a good man”, “devoted father” and “formidable VP”.

“I consider it one of the great honours of my life to have had him as a deputy and as a counsellor,” he added.

Former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also on the flight, which took off from the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday morning, the BBC reports.

The military is transporting the remains of Mr Chiima and the other victims to the nation’s capital and funeral arrangements will be announced in due course, the president said.

Mr Chilima had been vice president of Malawi since 2014.

He was widely loved in Malawi, particularly among the youth, AFP reports.

He was arrested and charged in 2022 on allegations that he accepted money in exchange for awarding government contracts. He denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, the court dropped the charges against Mr Chilima.