Plane crashes in Lake Victoria, Tanzania: Rescue operations still underway

A plane with 43 people on board crashed in bad weather on Sunday shortly before landing in Tanzania’s northwestern Lake Victoria town of Bukoba. Regional Police Commander William Mwambakele told reporters at Bukoba Airport that the plane’s Precision Air (…) crashed into the water about 100 meters from the airport. Regional Commissioner Albert Salamila said 43 people, including 39 passengers, two pilots and two crew members, were on board. They flew from the capital, Dar es Salaam, to Bukoba, Africa’s largest lake, where the Nile River has its source.

“As we speak, we have managed to save 26 people who have been evacuated to hospital.” Mr. Salamila added, stressing that “the rescue operation is still ongoing.” According to him, the aircraft in question was an ATR 42. The model was manufactured by the Franco-Italian company ATR and assembled in Toulouse in the south of France.

Videos released to local media showed the plane heavily submerged as rescue efforts were made to rescue the drowned. Rescue workers are trying to pull the plane out of the water using cables and cranes. President Samia Suluhu Hassan has condoled with the victims of the accident. “Let us remain calm and pray to God to help us while the rescue operations continue.”He said on Twitter.

Tanzania’s largest private airline, Precision Air, issued a brief statement confirming the crash. The company, part-owned by Kenya Airways, was founded in 1993 and operates domestic and regional flights and private charters to popular tourist destinations such as the Serengeti National Park and the Zanzibar archipelago. Its fleet consists of nine aircraft including three ATR 42-500s, 1 ATR 42-600 and 5 ATR 72-500s. It is not known which of the ATR 42 aircraft crashed.

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The crash comes five years after a safari plane crashed in northern Tanzania, killing 11 people.

In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed in a field southeast of the Ethiopian capital six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. In 2007, a Kenya Airways flight from the Ivorian city of Abidjan to the Kenyan capital Nairobi crashed into a swamp, killing all 114 passengers on board. In 2000, another Kenya Airways flight from Abidjan to Nairobi crashed into the Atlantic Ocean minutes after takeoff, killing 169 people and leaving 10 survivors.

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