Tanzanian plane crashes into Lake Victoria
At least 19 passengers were killed when a passenger jet from Tanzania crashed into Lake Victoria while trying to land in the lakeside town of Bukoba.
Operator Precision Air reports that 24 of the 43 passengers were still alive.
The two pilots originally made it out alive and were able to communicate with local authorities from the cockpit, but the prime minister believes they may have passed away by now.
At the end of the runway at the Bukoba airport, the jet fell close to the water.
Some of the people who were still inside the jet may be rescued by rescuers wading into the water.
Abdul Nuri saw the jet crash into Africa’s largest lake as he was at the airport waiting for the return trip to Tanzania’s main city, Dar es Salaam.
“We were quite surprised. People began to fear, and some of them began to scream and yell,” he told the BBC.
People worried at the arrivals gate as well; the majority of them were there to greet their family.
The initial responders who were fishers, he has talked with them. They said that after the jet crashed, a flight attendant unlocked the back door, allowing them to enter the wreckage and rescue passengers.
The catastrophe, which happened at 05:50 GMT/8:50 local, had the weather to thank for it.
Some of the ATR-42’s body is now above the water as emergency personnel used ropes to drag the plane further nearer to the beach.
The aircraft was nearly entirely immersed in water following the accident, with just the brown and green tail fin still visible.
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The weather had become worse just as the jet was ready to touch down, causing the pilot to change course, according to Richard Komba, a crash survivor, who spoke to the BBC.
Then it was said that we would be landing soon, but there was a lot of turbulence. Later, we discovered ourselves in the lake,” stated Mr. Komba.
“Water then entered the aircraft, covering those seated towards the front. Most of us at the rear of the aircraft, where I was sitting, fought to exit.
He said that while one member of the cabin staff was trying to unlock the aircraft’s door, he was ultimately able to release himself.
“There was no boat there when we got out; it took a while to be rescued, and the boat that arrived was not very nice; it was a canoe.”
The amount of people attempting to squeeze in the one craft, he said, had “scared” the survivors, but more rescue boats, he claimed, arrived minutes later.
The rescued passengers are in the hospital and are not gravely hurt, according to Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, “but they are stunned and scared.”
Mr. Majaliwa had already visited the scene and promised a thorough inquiry to ascertain the entire reasons of the collision.
It is quite probable that the pilots may have died, he added, adding that the corpses are still being identified.
Airport operations have been suspended till further notice.
As the rescue effort goes on, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has sent her sympathies to the affected parties and urged restraint.
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Kenya Airways owns a portion in Precision Air, the biggest privately owned airline in Tanzania. It began operations in 1993 and flies both domestically and regionally.
From the BBC