Reports indicate that 19 people died in the Sunday crash of a Tanzanian passenger plane while 24 people had been rescued.
In a statement released soon after the disaster, which was attributed to adverse weather, Precision Air verified this.
“Precision Air regrets to confirm that 19 fatalities and 24 survivors have now been reported by the emergency services at the scene of the accident involving PW-494 which crashed at Lake Victoria in Bukoba today,” the airline said.
This was also corroborated by the country’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa who told reporters: “All Tanzanians join you in mourning these 19 people who have lost their lives.”
A regional official added that it was not immediately apparent whether the 19 deaths included rescuers who died by drowning or whether there were more passengers on board the 48-seater aircraft than had been initially reported.
“We are continuing to investigate,” said Chalamila. “There is a possibility that two people were not onboard but died during the rescue effort.”
The largest privately owned airline in Tanzania, Precision Air, reported that it has sent rescuers to the location.
“An investigation team consisting of Precision Air technical staff and Tanzania Airports Authority has also departed to join the rescue team on the ground,” the airline said in a statement.
“We have managed to save quite a number of people,” Kagera province police Commander William Mwampaghale told journalists earlier in the day.
“When the aircraft was about 100 metres midair, it encountered problems and bad weather. It was raining and the plane plunged into the water. Everything is under control.”
photos of the plane, which emerged online, showed that the aircraft was submerged in the lake with only its green- and brown-coloured tail visible above the water line. Speaking to reporters, journalist Faraji Saidi said emergency services were at the scene.
“According to the police commander in Bukoba, the plane crashed due to bad weather, fog. It is raining around that area. Rescue efforts are still ongoing. The airline has worked in Tanzania for so long and has had no crashes,” Saidi said.
The largest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria, borders Bukoba Airport. Emergency personnel continued to rescue additional stranded passengers while rescue boats were launched. During the rescue effort, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan urged restraint.
“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.”
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