Passenger plane with 43 on board plunges into Lake Victoria

Local fishermen were among the first to arrive at the scene with rescue efforts underway

Precision Air Passenger plane with 49 on board plunges into Lake Victoria in Bukoba, Tanzania

A passenger plane ferrying 43 on board has crash-landed into lake Victoria.

The plane belonging to Tanzania’s precision Air plunged into the lake on Sunday at Kagera region.

Regional police commander William Mwampaghale confirmed to the press at Bukoba airport that "There was an accident involving a Precision Air plane which... crashed into water about 100 metres from the airport".

Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) reported that the plane left Dar es Salaam heading to Bukoba through Mwanza with 43 people on board.

According to Regional Commissioner, Mr. Albert Chalamila, 43 people, including 39 passengers, two pilots and two cabin crew were aboard the aircraft with registration details ATR-42, manufactured by Toulouse-based Franco-Italian firm ATR.

"As we speak, we have managed to rescue 26 people who were taken to our referral hospital.

"The rescue operation is still ongoing and we are communicating with the pilots," Chalamila added.

19 people have so far been confirmed dead following the tragedy.

According to TBC, preliminary reports indicate that the crash was caused by heavy rainfall and strong wind.

"Ndege ya Precision Air iliyokuwa inatoka Dar es Salaam kwenda Bukoba kupitia Mwanza imedondoka katika Ziwa Victoria kutokana na kukumbwa na mvua kubwa na upepo mkali,(A plane belonging to Precision Air that was heading to Bukoba from Dar es Salaam via Mwanza has crash landed into Lake Victoria due to heavy rainfall and strong winds)" reported TBC.

Precision air confirmed in a statement that no deaths had been reported by the time of going to press, adding that investigations have been launched into the incident.

"An investigation team consisting of Precision Air technical staff and TAA (Tanzania Airports Authority) has also departed to join the rescue team on the ground." Said the airline in its statement released on Sunday.

Reports indicate that the plane was about to land at Bukoba airport in Tanzania when the accident happened.

Local fishermen were among the first to rush to the scene where the plane was partially submerged to rescue the passengers trapped in the plane.

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