At least nineteen people were killed after a passenger plane crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania’s northwestern region of Kagera on Sunday morning, and the death toll continues to rise, a local official said.
The Kagera regional medical officer, Isesanda Kaniki, said the deceased died while receiving treatment at a regional hospital.
“The number of passengers killed in the plane accident has risen as rescue work continues,” Kaniki, who is working with rescuers, told reporters.
The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) said in a statement that Precision Air flight number 5H-PWF from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba was involved in the landing accident at 8:45 a.m. local time (0545 GMT).
“The aircraft landed in water short of the runaway about 500 meters before the threshold,” said the statement.
The statement said a rescue operation was in progress, adding the TCAA would keep the public updated on further information and proceedings.
Kagera Regional Commissioner Albert Chalamila said the plane was ferrying 43 people, including 39 passengers, two pilots and two cabin crew. The official added that rescuers were still working at the site.
Precision Air said in a separate statement that its ATR-48 aircraft with 39 passengers, including 38 adults and one infant, was on board the ill-fated plane as it was approaching Bukoba Airport and crash-landed in Lake Victoria.
“The rescue is ongoing and we can confirm 26 passengers have been rescued and rushed to hospital for medical care,” said the statement.
The statement said an investigation team consisting of Precision Air technical staff and the Tanzania Airports Authority has been dispatched to join the rescue team on the ground.
The statement said Precision Air has established information centres in Dar es Salaam and Bukoba.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said she was shocked by the news of the accident.