Nineteen people were killed when a passenger plane crashed into a lake in Tanazania. The Precision Air flight landed in Lake Victoria during treacherous weather conditions as it approached an airport in Bukoba, Tanzania, the country’s state broadcaster reported. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa gave the new death toll, up from three. Earlier, local authorities said 26 passengers were rescued and taken to a hospital. It was not clear if any of those who were rescued died at the hospital. A spokesperson for Precision Air said flight number PW 494 from Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam to Bukoba was involved in an accident as it approached landing.
Tanzanian Broadcasting Corportation (TBC) reported that bad weather caused Sunday morning’s crash. The plane had departed from the capital Dar es Salaam and “fell in the Lake Victoria this morning due to storm and heavy rains,” it said. News reports showed photos of the plane mostly submerged in the lake and said rescue work had begun. Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu Hassan called for calm as the rescue operation continued. “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.” Bukoba Airport is on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, in northeast Tanzania. Precision Air, based in Dar-es-Salaam, has been flying commercially since 1993. It has not previously suffered any fatal accidents. Like many other African airlines, it faces substantial financial challenges. The airline flies exclusively ATR propellor jets. The ATR42 and ATR72 have been flying since the 1980s and are well regarded in terms of safety. The last fatal accident involving an ATR was in Iran in 2018.