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Lake Victoria plane crash death toll rises to 19

Mwanza, Tanzania | XINHUA |  The death toll from a Tanzanian plane crash into Lake Victoria on Sunday morning has risen from three to 19 by late afternoon, said the country’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

Majaliwa, who visited the crash site on the shores of Lake Victoria in Bukoba district in Kagera region late Sunday afternoon, said it was likely that some passengers were still trapped in the plane’s wreckage.

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) stated earlier that Precision Air flight number 5H-PWF from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba was involved in the landing accident at 8:45 a.m. local time (0545 GMT).

“The aircraft landed in water short of the runaway about 500 meters before the threshold,” said the statement.

The statement said a rescue operation was in progress, adding the TCAA would keep the public updated on further information and proceedings.

The Kagera regional medical officer, Isesanda Kaniki, said at least three victims — two men and a woman — died while receiving treatment at a regional hospital.

Precision Air, owners of the plane, said in a separate statement there were 39 passengers, including 38 adults and one infant, and four crew members flying in its ATR-48 aircraft before it crash-landed in Lake Victoria as it approached Bukoba airport from the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam.

The statement said an investigative team consisting of Precision Air technical staff and aviation experts from the TCAA has been dispatched to join the rescue team on the ground.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said earlier she was shocked by news of the accident. ■

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