DAR ES SALAAM - A Precision Air flight carrying 39 passengers made a crash landing into Lake Victoria on Sunday while attempting to reach a nearby airport in Tanzania, the airline said.
At least 26 people were rescued from the plane, the airline said in a statement, adding that no deaths had been confirmed.
Precision Air flight plunges into Lake Victoria when landing at Bukoba Airport in Tanzania, authorities say rescue operations underway— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) November 6, 2022
🎥: Courtesy pic.twitter.com/WJLYfGeVjw
Flight PW494, which departed from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, "crash landed" into the lake as it was approaching the lakeside city of Bukoba, Precision Air added.
The cause was not immediately clear, but the state broadcaster said the incident took place amid storms and heavy rains.
A witness told the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) he saw the plane flying unsteadily as it approached the airport in poor visibility conditions, saying it took a turn for the airport but missed and went into the lake.
Video and pictures circulating on social media showed the plane almost fully submerged, with only its green and brown-coloured tail visible above the water line of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake.
Rescue boats were deployed, and emergency workers were continuing to pull trapped passengers from the plane, TBC reported.
Rescue workers were in touch with the pilots in the cockpit and were attempting to pull the plane from the lake, Albert Chalamila, the chief administrator of Tanzania's Kagera region, told reporters.
TBC footage showed scores of residents standing along the shoreline and others wading into the shallow waters, as rescuers carried on with their efforts.
Precision Air, Tanzania's largest privately owned airline, identified the aircraft as an ATR-48. Airline officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking further details about the incident.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan called for calm as the rescue operation continued.