Death Toll Revealed In Tragic Plane Crash

(  A passenger plane crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday killing at least 19 people.

Precision Air Flight PW494 hit the water after attempting to land at the nearby Bukoba airport during heavy rains. Rescue crews in boats rushed to the site of the crash to rescue the trapped passengers and crew from the nearly-submerged wreckage.

Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa spoke to reporters at the lakeside city of Bukoba where he expressed his country’s sympathy for the 19 people killed. Majaliwa said investigators were looking into what happened.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan posted on Twitter that she had received the news of the crash and called for calm as rescuers worked to free the passengers. She asked also for prayers.

The flight left the commercial capital Dar es Salaam Sunday morning and crashed as it was on approach at Bukoba airport. It was carrying 39 passengers, including an infant, along with four crew members. Initially, Precision Air, Tanzania’s largest privately-owned airline, said 26 of the 43 people had been rescued. Later it was confirmed only 24 people were rescued alive.

One witness told a local news outlet that the plane was flying unsteadily as it made its approach to the airport in the storm. The witness said the plane took a turn for the airport but missed, landing in the lake instead.

Video footage from both news outlets and onlookers showed locals standing along the shoreline while others went into the water to try pulling the aircraft closer to shore using ropes.

Both pilots survived the initial crash but were trapped in the cockpit. They were in contact with rescue workers until reporting that their oxygen supply was running out. When rescue workers finally made it into the cockpit, the pilots were dead. The two flight attendants were among the survivors.

Precision Air identified the aircraft as the short-haul turboprop ATR42-500, made by Franco-Italian manufacturer ATR.