Rescue operations were underway in Tanzania on Sunday after a plane carrying 39 passengers, including a baby, crashed into Africa’s largest lake, the airline said in a statement.
At least 19 people were killed, the country’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said.
Of the 39 passengers on board the Precision Air flight, 26 were rescued and taken to hospital, it said in a statement. “We still have to confirm the number of fatalities at the scene of the accident,” she said, adding that 4 crew members were also on board the flight.
“We have managed to save quite a few people,” Kagera province police commander William Mwampaghale told reporters.
“When the aircraft was about 100 meters (328 feet) in the air, it ran into trouble and bad weather. It was raining and the plane went down in the water,” he said. “It’s all under control.”
Images verified by NBC News showed the plane almost completely submerged in the lake with rescue boats around its green and yellow tail.
Tanzanian Precision Air said in a statement on Facebook that its flight PW494, flying from the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam on the country’s east coast, was “involved in an accident on approach to Bukoba airport.” The airline said the plane was an ATR42-500, a twin-jet turboprop made by the Italian-French company ATR.
Bukoba is on the western edge of Lake Victoria, which borders Uganda and Kenya.
“The rescue team has been dispatched to the scene,” Precision Air said.
“It is with sadness that I received the news of the Precision Air plane crash,” Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu wrote in a statement. Twitter. “Let us remain calm at this time as rescuers continue the rescue mission as we pray to God to help us.”