A Tanzanian Precision Air commercial flight made an emergency landing on Lake Victoria in bad weather on Sunday, killing 19 people.
The country’s prime minister, Kassim Majaliwa, said officials believed all bodies had been taken from the plane.
“We start pulling luggage and personal belongings from the aircraft. A team of doctors and security agencies has started the process of identifying the deceased and informing the families,” Majaliwa said.
In an updated statement late Sunday, the airline confirmed the death toll and lowered the number of survivors to 24. Earlier, the carrier and local officials said 26 of the 43 people on board had been rescued.
“Precision Air extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the passenger and crew involved in this tragic incident. The company will endeavor to provide them with information and any assistance they may need during this difficult time,” the airline said.
“The names of the passengers and crew on the aircraft will not be released until next of kin have been notified,” he added.
The flight, which included 39 passengers and four crew members, took off from Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam and flew to the town of Bukoba before it crashed into Lake Victoria. as you prepared to land.
A video circulating on social media, shot by onlookers on the shores of Lake Victoria, shows the aircraft submerged in water as emergency workers coordinate rescue efforts from nearby boats.
Precision Air CEO Patrick Mwanri looked visibly upset as he spoke to reporters in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
Mwanri’s voice broke and he had to pause to wipe away tears as he said the plane left at around 6am. location and was expected in the northwestern lakeside town of Bukoba at 8:30 a.m.
“But at 8:53 a.m. our operations control center has received a message that that aircraft has not arrived,” he said in a televised statement.
The accident is believed to have occurred on approach to the airport, whose runway begins right next to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater lake.
Local officials said bad weather may have contributed to the disaster, saying the area was experiencing heavy rain and strong winds at the time.
The regional airline has opened a Crisis Management Center and established information zones in Bukoba and Dar es Salaam to communicate with families of passengers.
After receiving news of the crash, Tanzania’s president called for calm on social media while rescuers worked at the site of the downed plane.
“I am saddened to learn of the Precision Air flight crash in Lake Victoria, Kagera region,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan tweeted on Sunday.
“My condolences to all those affected by this incident. As the rescue operation continues, let us be calm and pray to God to help us.
Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline based in Dar es Salaam.