No fewer than 19 people died when a passenger plane crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday while trying to land at a nearby airport, the prime minister and airline said.
The state Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) reported that the Flight PW494, operated by Precision Air, hit the water during storms and heavy rain.
According to local authorties, rescuers in boats rushed to the wreckage, which was almost fully submerged, to pull out trapped passengers.
“All Tanzanians join you in mourning these 19 people who have lost their lives,” Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told reporters in the lakeside city of Bukoba, close to the scene of the crash.
However, investigators are looking into what happened, he added.
The plane left the commercial capital Dar-es-Salaam and “crash-landed” at 8.53 a.m. (0553 GMT) as it was approaching Bukoba airport, Precision Air – Tanzania’s largest privately owned airline – said in a statement.
The plane was carrying 39 passengers, including an infant, as well as four crew members, the airline added.
It initially said 26 of the 43 people on board were rescued but later said 24 survivors were reported by emergency services at the scene.
A witness told TBC he saw the plane flying unsteadily as it approached the airport in poor visibility, saying it took a turn for the airport but missed and went into the lake.
The two pilots survived the crash and were in touch with rescue workers from the cockpit before reporting that their oxygen supply was dwindling, Albert Chalamila, chief administrator of Tanzania’s Kagera region, told Reuters.
“They were dead when rescue workers reached them, but the two flight attendants survived,” he said.
Precision Air identified the aircraft as an ATR42-500. The Franco-Italian manufacturer, ATR, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
First introduced almost 40 years ago, the ATR42 is the smaller of two series of short-haul turboprops made by ATR, a joint-venture of Airbus (AIR.PA) and Leonardo (LDOF.MI).
The last fatal accident was in 2017, according to aviation-safety.net, a safety database.
“Precision Air extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the passenger(s) and crew involved in this tragic accident,” the airline said.
“The company will strive to provide them with information and whatever assistance they will require in this difficult time.”
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan called for calm.
“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,” she urged.
Sanwo-Olu appoints Bakare-Oki Olalekan as acting GM of LASTMA
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos, has appointed Bakare-Oki Olalekan as the acting general manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
Olalekan possesses a master’s degree in transport management/planning from the University of Lagos and a bachelor’s degree in history and international studies from the Lagos State University.
He would succeed Bolaji Oreagba, the immediate past general manager of the agency.
In a statement issued on Friday, Jubril Gawat, the senior special assistant to the governor on new media, said Bakare-Oki joined the state civil service in 2000.
“A dedicated servant of Lagos state since 2000, Mr. Olalekan has risen through the ranks with a steadfast commitment to excellence and leadership,” the statement reads.
“With his recent role as deputy director, grade Level 16, and a seasoned background as director of the logistics & engineering department, he has demonstrated exceptional expertise in logistics, fleet management, and operational strategy across LASTMA’s extensive network.
“The accolades he has received, includes; ‘Best zonal head of the year’ and ‘Best area commander/outstanding leader of the year,’ reflects his unwavering dedication to service.”
FRSC warns against night travels during festive period
The Federal Road Safety Corps has cautioned passengers against embarking on night journeys during festivities due to their negative consequences.
The FRSC Sector Commander in Katsina State, Mr Ibrahim Maiyaki-Bazama, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Katsina.
“People have freedom of movement, but we, as the road safety corps, have the mandate to take measures that will help minimise road crashes.
“Part of such measures is that we encourage people to stop or minimise night travel.
“This is because when a motorist is driving at night, he cannot see beyond the reach of the vehicle’s light.
“In case of an accident, sometimes helpers are not readily available, or it takes time to get those who will assist,” he said.
Maiyaki-Bazama further said that the command has standby rescue teams ready for operation in case of any eventuality.
He said that the teams were at the five units under the command located at Funtua, Daura, Koza, Malumfashi, and Kankia.
The Sector Commander further urged motorists to adhere to traffic rules and regulations, pointing out that “it is only the living that celebrate.”
He said that the command was committed to reducing road crashes to the barest minimum.
He added that the need to reduce road crashes prompted the command to engage stakeholders on road safety in the state.
FRSC to prosecute fleet operators who violate safety standards
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction and prosecute fleet operators who violate safety standards across the country.
Dauda Biu, FRSC corps marshal, spoke in Abuja on Thursday during the 2023 annual safety managers retreat.
Biu, who was represented by Amuche Nwaka, assistant corps marshal, said the FRSC would no longer tolerate the failure of fleet operators to adhere strictly to the terms of the road transport safety standardisation Scheme (RTSSS).
The FRSC boss said the retreat was intended to appraise and address notable observations made by the corps regarding the management of fleet operations in the country in the last one year.
He said investigations revealed that most recorded fleet operations-related crashes in the country could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been committed to their roles.
“This retreat is, therefore, a wake-up call to all of us to further justify our roles as safety managers,” NAN quoted Biu as saying.
“Specific lapses observed included non-installation of speed limit device (SLD), tampering with the already installed device, calibration above the approved speed limits, connivance with unscrupulous vendors for issuance of compliance certificates without actual installation, and so on.
“These shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction non-compliant operators henceforth.
“All observed non-compliant fleet operators in any of the identified areas will be served with pre-action notices for prosecution and there is no going back on this.
“Fleet operators who refused to allow certification teams access to their premises will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
“Fleet operators who fail to meet certification standards twice will be suspended from operations.
“Certified vehicle stickers shall be issued only for vehicles installed with functional speed limiting devices.”
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others
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