Sunday was darkened by the news of a passenger plane crashing into Lake Victoria in Tanzania while attempting to land in stormy weather at an airport in the lakeside city of Bukoba, as reported by the state broadcaster TBC.
Although 15 people have been rescued so far, it remains unknown how many passengers were on board the Precision Air flight or whether there were any fatalities, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) reported.
Having departed from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, the aircraft “fell in Lake Victoria this morning due to storms and heavy rains”, TBC reported.
Precision Air flight plunges into Lake Victoria when landing at Bukoba Airport in Tanzania, authorities say rescue operations underway
?: Courtesy pic.twitter.com/WJLYfGeVjw
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) November 6, 2022
As seen in video footage and images circulated on social media, the plane was nearly entirely submerged, with only its green and brown-coloured tail visible above the waterline of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake.
Rescuers swooped to the crash site in boats to extricate other passengers trapped in the plane.
The plane was identified as Precision Air’s flight PW 494. The airline, being Tanzania’s largest privately owned, said it was “involved in an accident as it was approaching Bukoba Airport”. No further details were provided in the airline’s statement.
As reported by Tanzania Business Insight (TBI), the aircraft was piloted by Captain Buruhani Rubaga, an experienced aviator with Precision Air for nearly 20 years. The first officer onboard is Peter Omondi. The TBI also wrote that the craft that crashed into Lake Victoria was a 12-years-old 48-seater ATR42-500 plane.
PRECISION AIR CRASH IN LAKE VICTORIA, TANZANIA
* No fatalities reported so far
* Pilot named as Captain Buruhani Rubaga (pictured), an experienced aviator with the airline for nearly 20 years
* First officer is Peter Omondi
* The 48-seater ATR42-500 plane is 12 years old pic.twitter.com/ZWusScQMdt
— Tanzania Business Insight (@TanzaniaInsight) November 6, 2022
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.”