Lake Victoria crash: commercial plane plunges into lake in Tanzania


At least three people died on Sunday after a commercial flight operated by Precision Air crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania.

The bodies of two men and a woman were recovered from the plane, Kagera Provincial Commissioner Albert Chalamila told reporters, without giving further details.

At least 26 people have been rescued so far with ongoing rescue operations, the airline said.

The flight had taken off from Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, and was heading for the town of Bukoba before plunging into Lake Victoria on approach to the airport.

A total of 43 people were on board the flight, including 39 passengers and four crew members, according to the airline and Chalamila.

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

“We are trying to get the plane out of the water. We try to check if the wheels touch the ground underwater or find another way to push it out of the lake. At this time there is still communication from the cockpit. The pilots are always in contact with us,” Chalamila said.

Speaking from the scene, Kagera Provincial Police Commander William Mwampaghe said “everything is currently under control”.

“Rescue operations are ongoing, so far we have rescued several people and eventually we will make sure we have rescued everyone and pulled the plane out of the water,” he said. “Those who were rescued were taken to our referral hospital.”

The Tanzanian president took to social media to call for calm as rescuers worked at the site of a downed plane.

“I received with sadness the information of the crash of the Precision Air flight at Lake Victoria, in the Kagera region,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

“I send my condolences to everyone affected by this incident. Let us continue to be calm as the rescue operation continues and we pray to God for help.

Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline based in Dar es Salaam.

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