Tanzania’s Precision Air plane has crashed into Lake Victoria while attempting to land at an airport during bad weather.
The Precision Air flight was carrying 43 people, 26 of whom have been rescued and sent to hospital, said a local official.
“The rescue operation is still ongoing and we are communicating with the pilots,” Regional commissioner Albert Chalamila said
The plane departed from the commercial capital, Dar-es-Salaam, and “fell in the Lake Victoria this morning due to storm and heavy rains” in Bukoba.
“We have managed to save quite a number of people,” Kagera province police commander William Mwampaghale told journalists.
“When the aircraft was about 100 meters midair, it encountered problems and bad weather. It was raining and the plane plunged into the water. Everything is under control.”
Bukoba Airport is on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Rescue boats were deployed and emergency workers continued to rescue other passengers trapped on the plane.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan called for calm during the rescue operation.
“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.”
Several countries including Ethiopia expressed their condolences to the Tanzanian government and people following the deadly accident.
Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry expressed “shock and sadness” over the tragic crash of Airplane in a statement on Monday.
It “extends deepest condolences and sympathy to the friendly People and Government” of Tanzania, and families lost their loved ones, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured in the plane crash.
Precision Air is Tanzania’s largest private airline and is partly owned by Kenya Airways. It was founded in 1993 and operates domestic and regional flights.
Featured Image Caption: The tail fin can be seen in the water, surrounded by boats and rescue workers [Photo CHARLES MWEBEYA TBC]