A plane belonging to Tanzania's Precision Airline crashed into Lake Victoria on Sunday morning. At least three people were killed in the crash, confirmed Albert Chalamila, a senior government official in the Kagera region. According to the Tanzanian aviation authority TCAA, the machine was on the approach to the city of Bukoba on Lake Victoria at the time of the accident.
The accident happened about 100 meters from the airport, a local police official said.
Heavy rain and dense fog interfered with the plane's landing, according to rescue workers at the scene. However, a detailed investigation into the reason for the crash is still pending. At least 26 of the 43 people on board were injured in the crash and taken to a nearby hospital. Of the 43 people on board the plane, 39 were passengers, two pilots and two flight attendants, another official said.
The rescue operation continued on Sunday afternoon. "The rescue operation is ongoing and we are in contact with the pilots," said an official. The plane was on its way from the economic metropolis of Dar es Salaam to Bukoba on Lake Victoria. According to the official, the aircraft is said to be a machine from the French-Italian company ATR.
Precision Air, the East African country's largest airline, confirmed the accident in a brief statement. A rescue team was dispatched to the scene of the accident.
Local media showed video footage of the plane largely submerged. The emergency services tried to lift the machine out of the water using ropes and cranes.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan expressed her condolences to those affected by the accident. "Let's stay calm while the rescue work goes on and pray to God to help us," she wrote on Twitter.
Lake Victoria is the third largest inland body of water in the world after the Caspian Sea and Lake Superior in North America. Lake Victoria is located in the three country corners of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The area of the lake roughly corresponds to that of Bavaria. Precision Airline specializes in tourist flights within Tanzania. Among other destinations, the airline flies to Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti – popular destinations for international tourists.