Lake Victoria crash: Commercial aircraft plunges into lake in Tanzania




CNN
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Several passengers on board a commercial flight operated by Precision Air which crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday have been rescued, the airline and local officials said.

Boats with emergency response personnel were deployed to the crash site at Africa’s largest lake near Bukoba airport. The airline said 26 people had been rescued so far before adding that no fatalities had yet been confirmed, according to a statement posted to its Twitter account.

The flight had taken off from Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam but was “involved in an accident as it was approaching Bukoba airport and crash landed in Lake Victoria,” the carrier said.

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

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

“We’re trying to pull out the aircraft from the water. We’re trying to check if the wheels hit the ground under water or figure out some other way to push it out of the lake. At this time, there is still communication from the cockpit. The pilots are still in contact with us,” Chalamila said.

Speaking at the site earlier Sunday, Kagera provincial police commander William Mwampaghale said “everything is currently under control.”

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

Tanzania’s President took to social media to call for calm while rescuers worked at the site of a downed plane.

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

“I send my condolences to all those affected by this incident. Let’s continue to be calm as 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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