A plane carrying 43 people plunged into Lake Victoria in Tanzania early on Sunday shortly before it was due to land in the city of Bukoba.
Fire and rescue personnel as well as local police and fishermen rushed to the scene to carry out rescue operations. The wreckage of the plane has also been pulled out from the lake.
“There was an accident involving a Precision Air plane which crashed into water about 100 metres from the airport,” regional police commander William Mwampaghale told reporters at Bukoba airport.
Regional commissioner Albert Chalamila said 43 people, including 39 passengers, two pilots and two cabin crew, were aboard the flight from financial capital Dar es Salaam to the lakeside city in Kagera region.
“As we speak, we have managed to rescue 26 people who were taken to our referral hospital,” Chalamila said.
“The rescue operation is still ongoing and we are communicating with the pilots,” he said, adding that more details would be shared later.
Video footage broadcast on local media showed the plane largely submerged as rescuers waded through water to bring people to safety.
Emergency workers attempted to lift the aircraft out of the water using ropes, assisted by cranes.
President of Tanzania Samia Suluhu Hassan expressed her condolences to those affected by the accident.
“Let’s continue to be calm while the rescue operation continues as we pray to God to help us,” she said on Twitter.
Precision Airways confirmed the crash involving flight PW 494 from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba and released a brief statement.
The airline said the plane crashed as it approached Bukoba airport. They also confirmed that rescue teams had gone to the scene and more information would be released in the next two hours.