Rescue mission underway as plane crashes into lake just before airport

Ali Condon

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Rescue mission underway as plane crashes into lake just before airport

Featured Image Credit: @rakidi/Twitter

Passengers are being evacuated from a small commercial plane that crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania.

A plane operated by Precision Air was on approach to Bukoba airport in Tanzania today (6 November) when it crash landed in Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake.

Local authorities said in a recent statement that 26 of the 43 people on board flight PW494, which departed from Dar es Salaam, had been rescued and taken to hospital.

The cause of the plane crash was not immediately clear, but local reports say that the crash happened amid storms and heavy rains.

The Precision Air flight crashed into Lake Victoria today.Credit: Twitter/@nazarias2000
The Precision Air flight crashed into Lake Victoria today.Credit: Twitter/@nazarias2000

At least nineteen people have been killed in the crash, the BBC reports.

News reports show photos of the plane mostly submerged in the lake.

Meanwhile, video footage circulating on social media, taken by onlookers, has shown emergency responders performing rescue efforts.

From the looks of the footage, the plane was almost fully submerged in the lake, with just its tail poking out above the water line.

Commenting on the ongoing rescue mission, Kagera province police commander William Mwampaghale said: "We have managed to save quite a number of people.

"When the aircraft was about 100 metres (328ft) midair, it encountered problems and bad weather. It was raining and the plane plunged into the water. Everything is under control."

Albert Chalamila, Kagera's provincial Commissioner, stated that rescue workers were in contact with the pilots who were trapped in the cockpit of the plane after the crash.

Teams were 'trying to pull the aircraft from the water' by checking if the wheels of the plane had hit ground under water so that the plane could be pushed out of the lake.

Rescue teams are working to remove passengers safely. Credit: NTV Kenya
Rescue teams are working to remove passengers safely. Credit: NTV Kenya

Speaking to the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), a witness said that he saw the aircraft flying unsteadily as it approached the airport, with harsh weather conditions causing poor visibility.

The witness added that it looked like the plane had turned toward the airport but missed and went into the lake.

Tanzania's President Samoa Suluhu also issued a statement on social media to assure those concerned that rescuers were on the scene.

"I have received with sadness the information of the crash of the Precision Air flight at Lake Victoria, in the Kagera region,” the president tweeted on Sunday.

"I send my condolences to all those affected by this incident. Let’s continue to be calm as the rescue operation continues and we pray to God to help us."

Topics: News

Ali Condon
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