DAR ES SALAAM. – Nineteen people have died after a small passenger plane crashed into Lake Victoria as it was coming in to land at an airport in Tanzania.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the new death toll, which is up from three earlier.
The aircraft was travelling to Bukoba airport when the accident happened.
Previously authorities said 26 of the 43 people on board the Precision Air flight from the country’s biggest city, Dar es Salaam, had been rescued and taken to hospital.
“We have managed to save quite a number of people,” Kagera province police commander William Mwampaghale told journalists.
“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,” he said.
The plane “fell in Lake Victoria this morning due to storms and heavy rains”, according to the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.
Video footage and images that circulated on social media showed the plane almost fully submerged, with only its green and brown-coloured tail visible above the water line of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake.
A child was among the 39 passengers on board the flight, the airline said.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan expressed her condolences to all those affected by the incident and called for calm while the rescue operation continues.
Chief administrator of Tanzania’s Kagera region, Albert Chalamila, said that rescuers were in contact with the pilots while they were still in the cockpit.
Rescuers attempt to recover the Precision Air passenger plane that crashed into Lake Victoria in Bukoba, Tanzania news. – sky.com.