A Tanzanian commercial airliner operated by Precision Air crashed in bad weather on Lake Victoria on Sunday, killing 19 people.
The country’s prime minister, Kassim Majaliwa, said officials believed they had recovered all the bodies from the plane.
“Bags and personal belongings are starting to be taken off the plane. A team of doctors and security agencies have started the process of identifying the victims and notifying the families,” Majaliwa said.
The airline confirmed the death toll and reduced the number of survivors to 24 in its latest statement on Sunday evening. Earlier, the aircraft carrier and local officials said 26 of the 43 people on board had been rescued.
“Precision Air extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the passengers and crew involved in this tragic incident. “The company will try to provide them with the information and information they will need during this difficult time,” the airline said.
“The names of the passengers and crew on board will not be released until all next of kin have been notified,” he said.
The plane, which had 39 passengers and four crew members on board, took off from Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam and headed for Bukoba before crashing into Lake Victoria. While preparing for landing.
Video circulating on social media, shot by onlookers on the shores of Lake Victoria, showed the plane submerged in the water with emergency responders coordinating rescue efforts from nearby boats.
Patrick Mwanri, the CEO of Precision Air, looked visibly distressed while speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
Mwanri’s voice broke and he had to pause to wipe away tears, he said, adding that the plane left at 6am local time and was expected in the northwestern lakeside town of Bukoba at 8.30am.
“However, at 8:53 a.m., our operations control center received information that the aircraft had not yet arrived,” he said in a televised statement.
The accident is believed to have occurred on final approach to the airport, whose runway begins next to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater lake.
Local officials suggested that the area was hit by heavy rains and strong winds at the time of the bad weather.
The regional airline has opened a crisis management center and established information points in Bukoba and Dar es Salaam to communicate with passengers’ families.
The president of Tanzania posted news of the crash on social media and called for calm while rescuers worked at the crash site.
“I am saddened to learn of the crash of Precision Air in Kagera region,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
“We send our condolences to all those affected by this incident. We pray to God to help us remain calm as rescue operations continue.”
Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline based in Dar es Salaam.