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Plane crash in Tanzania leaves at least 19 dead

At least 19 people have been confirmed dead and 26 others rescued from a plane crash on Sunday in Tanzania.

The Precision Air aircraft, which took off from Dar es Salaam, the country’s economic hub, crashed into lake Victoria while attempting to land in bad weather, Al Jazeera reported.

“All Tanzanians join you in mourning these 19 people … who had lost their lives,” Majaliwa told reporters in the northwestern city of Bukoba, where the plane was approaching the airport before it plunged into the water.

Regional commissioner Albert Chalamila said 43 people – including 39 passengers, two pilots and two cabin crew – were on board the plane.

Local authorities and the airline said that 26 survivors out of the 43 people on board flight PW 494 had been pulled to safety and taken to hospital in Bukoba, a lakeside city in the Kagera region.

It was not immediately clear if the 19 victims included rescuers who drowned or whether the 48-seater aircraft had more people on board than previously disclosed, a regional official said.

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“We are continuing to investigate,” said Chalamila. “There is a possibility that two people were not onboard but died during the rescue effort.”

Precision Air, Tanzania’s largest privately-owned airline, said it had dispatched rescuers to the scene.

“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,” the airline said in a statement.

“According to the police commander in Bukoba, the plane crashed due to bad weather, fog. It is raining around that area. Rescue efforts are still ongoing. The airline has worked in Tanzania for so long and has had no crashes,” Saidi said.

Bukoba Airport is on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Rescue boats were deployed and emergency workers continued to rescue other passengers trapped on the plane.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan called for calm during the rescue operation.

“I have received with sadness the news of the accident involving Precision Air’s plane,” she tweeted. “Let’s be calm at this moment when rescuers are continuing with the rescue mission while praying to God to help us.”

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