A rescue operation is under way to save passengers of a carrier aeroplane which crashed into Lake Victoria while trying to land at an airport in Bukoba, Tanzania, the country’s state broadcaster reported.
Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) said 15 people had been rescued so far from the Precision Air jet but it was unknown how many passengers were on board or whether there were any fatalities.
Police said they did not know of any casualties so far.
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.
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.
Photo Credit: Getty