Several passengers on a Precision Air commercial flight that crashed in Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday were rescued, the airline and local officials said.
Boats with emergency response personnel have been deployed to the crash site on Africa’s largest lake near Bukoba Airport. The airline said 26 people have been rescued so far before adding that no deaths have been confirmed so far, according to a statement posted on its Twitter account.
The airline said the plane took off from Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, but “had an accident while approaching Bukoba Airport and crashed into Lake Victoria”.
The airline and Kagera County Commissioner Albert Chalamela said 43 people were on the flight, including 39 passengers and four crew members.
A video clip shared on social media by onlookers on the shores of Lake Victoria showed the plane submerged in water with emergency responders coordinating rescue efforts from nearby boats.
We’re trying to pull the plane out of the water. We try to check if the wheels hit the ground under the water or figure out another way to get them out of the lake. At this time, there is still communication from the cockpit. Shalamila said the pilots are still in touch with us.
Speaking at the site earlier on Sunday, Kagera County Police Chief William Mwambagal said “everything is currently under control”.
“Rescue operations are underway, so far we have saved many people, and in the end we will make sure that we rescue everyone and remove the plane from the water,” he said. “Those who were rescued were taken to our referral hospital.”
Tanzania’s president has taken to social media to call for calm as rescuers work at the site of a plane crash.
“Sadly, I have received information about the crash of the Precision Air in Lake Victoria, Kagera District,” Samoa Solo President wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
I send my deepest condolences to all those affected by this accident. Let’s stay calm as the rescue operation continues and ask God to help us.”
Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline based in Dar es Salaam.
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