19 dead after commercial aircraft crashes into Lake Victoria in Tanzania | CNN


A Tanzanian commercial airliner operated by Precision Air crash-landed in bad weather in Lake Victoria on Sunday, killing 19 people.

The country’s Prime Minister Kasim Majliwa said authorities believed all bodies had been removed from the plane.

“We are starting to evacuate luggage and personal items from the aircraft. A team of doctors and security agencies has started the process of identifying the deceased and notifying the families,” Majliwa said.

The airline confirmed the death toll and brought the number of survivors down to 24 in an updated statement on Sunday evening. Earlier, the carrier as well as local authorities had said that 26 of the 43 people on board had been rescued.

“Precision Air extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the passengers and crew involved in this tragic incident. The company will try to inform them and provide them with the necessary assistance during their difficult time,” the airline said.

“The names of the passengers and crew of the aircraft will not be released until all next of kin have been notified,” it added.

The flight, with 39 passengers and four crew members, took off from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital, and headed for the town of Bukoba before landing in Lake Victoria. He was preparing to take off.

Video circulating on social media taken by onlookers on the shores of Lake Victoria showed the plane submerged in water and emergency responders coordinating rescue efforts from nearby boats.

Precision Air CEO Patrick Mwanari looked visibly distressed while speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.

Mwanari’s voice broke and he had to stop to wipe away tears as he said the plane had left around 6am local and was expected to land in the northwestern lakeside town of Bukoba at 8.30am.

“But at 8.53 am our operations control center received a report that the aircraft had not arrived,” he said in a televised statement.

The crash is believed to have occurred on the final approach of the airport, where the runway starts next to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater lake.

Local officials suggested that bad weather may have played a role in the accident, as the area was experiencing heavy rain and strong winds at the time.

The regional airline has opened a crisis management center and established information zones in Bukoba and Dar es Salaam to communicate with passengers’ families.

Following reports of the crash, Tanzania’s president appealed for calm on social media while rescuers worked at the site of the downed plane.

“I am saddened to learn of the crash of a Precision Air flight at Lake Victoria in the Kagera region,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

“I send my condolences to all those affected by this incident. Let us remain calm while the rescue operation continues and we pray to God to help us.”

Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline based out of Dar es Salaam.

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