Several passengers have been rescued from a commercial flight operated by Precision Air that crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday, the airline and local authorities said.
Boats with emergency rescue personnel were dispatched to the crash site on Africa’s largest lake near Bukoba airport. The airline said 26 people have been rescued so far, but no casualties have yet been confirmed, according to a statement posted on its Twitter account.
The carrier said the flight, which took off from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital, “crashed on approach to Bukoba Airport and landed in Lake Victoria”.
A total of 43 people were on board, including 39 passengers and four crew members, said Albert Salamila, the airline and Kagera provincial commissioner.
Video taken by onlookers on the shores of Lake Victoria and circulated on social media showed the plane submerged in water with emergency responders coordinating rescue efforts from nearby boats.
“We’re trying to get the plane out of the water. We’re trying to find out whether the wheels hit the ground under water or another way to push it out of the lake. At the moment, there’s still communication from the cockpit. The pilots are still in touch with us,” Salamila said.
Speaking at the site earlier on Sunday, Kagera provincial police commander William Mwambakele said “everything is now under control”.
“Rescue operations are going on and we have rescued many people so far and we will ensure that eventually we rescue everyone and get the plane out of the water,” he said. The rescued have been taken to our referral hospital.
Tanzania’s president called for calm on social media while rescue workers worked at the crash site.
“I am saddened to learn that a Precision Air plane has crashed on Lake Victoria in the Kagera region,” President Samoa Zuluhu wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
“My condolences to all those affected by this incident. We will remain calm while the rescue operation continues and pray to God to help us,” he said.
Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline based out of Dar es Salaam.