A Precision Air plane crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania while attempting to land at an airport during bad weather.
State-owned Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) reported on Sunday that 15 people had been rescued so far but it was unknown whether there were any fatalities. There were 43 people on the aircraft.
“We have managed to save quite a number of people,” Kagera province police commander William Mwampaghale told journalists.
The plane departed from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam and “fell in the Lake Victoria this morning due to storm and heavy rains” in Bukoba.
“When the aircraft was about 100 metres (328 feet) midair, it encountered problems and bad weather. It was raining and the plane plunged into the water. Everything is under control,” said Mwampaghale.
News reports showed photos of the plane mostly submerged in the lake.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Dar Es Salaam, Faraji Saidi, a journalist, emergency services were continuing with rescue efforts.
“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. According to preliminary report, the plane crashed about 100m from the airport. 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 in 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.”
Precision Air is Tanzania’s largest privately-owned airline.