At least 19 people died when a passenger plane crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday while trying to land at a nearby airport.
Flight PW494, operated by Precision Air, hit the water during storms and heavy rain, according to multiple local media reports.
The plane left the commercial capital Dar es Salaam and crash-landed at 8:53 a.m. local time as it was approaching Bukoba airport, Precision Air, which is Tanzania’s largest privately owned airline, said in a statement.
According to the airline, the plane was carrying 39 passengers, including an infant, as well as four crew members. It initially said 26 of the 43 people on board were rescued but later said 24 survivors were reported by emergency services at the scene.
“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.
Social media posts showed photos of the plane mostly submerged in the lake with only its green- and brown-coloured tail visible above the water line.
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.”
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