Passenger plane crashes into Tanzania’s Lake Victoria, 19 dead

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A small passenger plane crashed Sunday morning into Lake Victoria on approach to an airport in Tan-zania, and the country’s prime minister says 19 peo-ple on board were killed. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa gave the new death toll, up from three.

Earlier, local authorities said 26 of those on the Precision Air flight from the coastal city of Dar es Salaam were rescued and taken to a hospital. It was not clear if any of those who were rescued died at the hospital. Photos showed the plane, which was headed to Bukoba Airport, mostly submerged in the lake.

Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline company. “We have managed to save quite a number of peo-ple,” Kagera province police commander William Mwampaghale told journalists. “When the aircraft was about 100 meters (328 feet) midair, it encoun-tered problems and bad weather. It was raining and the plane plunged into the water,” he said.

Rescue workers were in touch with the pilots in the cockpit and were attempting to pull the plane from the lake, Albert Chalamila, the chief administrator of Tanzania’s Kagera region, told reporters.

TBC footage showed scores of residents stand-ing along the shoreline and others wading into the shallow waters, as rescuers carried on with their efforts.

Precision Air, Tanzania’s largest privately owned airline, identified the aircraft as an ATR42-500. Airline officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking further details about the incident.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan called for calm as the rescue operation continued. “I have received with sadness the news of the accident involving Precision Air’s plane,” she tweeted. “Let’s be calm at this moment when rescuers are continuing with the rescue mission while praying to God to help us.”—AP

 

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