A Precision Air aircraft has crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania. The aircraft was an ATR 42-500 that was operating on flight PW 494. This was a scheduled domestic flight between Tanzania’s largest city Dar es Salam and Bukoba Airport that is located on near the shores of Lake Victoria.
Through social media, Precision Air confirmed the accident and said that so far, they have recovered 19 bodies from the scene of the accident.
The ATR 72-500 with registration number 5H-PWF was manufactured by Franco-Italian company ATR in 2010 hence making it 12 years old. On this route, the aircraft had 39 passengers onboard with one infant among them. It is worth noting that the ATR 72-500 is designed to carry up to a maximum of 48 passengers.
The aircraft had Manufacturer Serial Number 819 with test registration F-WWLA. The aircraft was using two Pratt & Whitney Canada turboprop engines. With this crash, the plane is most likely going to be a write-off.
“We have managed to save quite a number of people,” Kagera province police commander William Mwampaghale told journalists. “When the aircraft was about 100 metres midair, it encountered problems and bad weather. It was raining and the plane plunged into the water,” he said.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and straddles three East African countries: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The lake mainly serves as a fishing ground for local inhabitants. It is no surprise that when the accident happened, the very first people on the scene were local fishermen. Below is a video of fishermen at the scene helping with rescue effort for the downed Precision Air aircraft.
Precision Air is Tanzania’s largest private airline. The airline operates an all ATR fleet. It consists of Five 70 seater ATR 72-500, Three 48 seater ATR 42-500 and 1 48 seater ATR 42-600. It is worth noting that in 2012, Precision Air became the first airline in the world to operate the ATR 42-600 plane.
Kenya Airways owns 41.23% stake in Precision Air. The other shareholders includes Michael Shirima at 42.91%, Precision Air employees at 1.10% while a number of other small shareholders hold the remainder 14.76%.