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Tanzania Pays Emotional Tribute To Plane Crash Victims

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In the country’s deadliest air tragedy in decades, 19 people were murdered when a passenger plane crashed into Lake #Victoria on Monday. Grieving Tanzanians paid passionate tribute to them. On Sunday morning when it attempted to land in the city of Bukoba in the northwest, the Precision Air flight from the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam crashed. The accident was attributed by police to adverse weather.

Hundreds of people, including prime minister Kassim Majaliwa, gathered at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba, where Muslim and Christian clerics led prayers for the deceased while observers wiped away their tears.  Local broadcasters carried out live telecasts from the stadium in the Kagera district as the ceremony to deliver the victims’ bodies to their relatives was anticipated to last hours. Investigators from Precision Air and the Tanzania Airports Authority arrived in the lakeside city on Sunday. Of the 43 passengers on board aircraft PW 494, 24 survivors were rescued.

The aircraft was an ATR 42-500, made by the Franco-Italian manufacturer ATR in Toulouse, and it was carrying 39 passengers, including a baby, and four crew members, according to Precision Air, the largest private airline in Tanzania. On Sunday, AFP journalists observed the jet to be mostly submerged as rescuers, including fishermen, waded through the water to save survivors. Residents also tried to help as emergency personnel tried to raise the airplane out of the sea using ropes and cranes.

A fisherman who was hospitalized after suffering injuries during the rescue effort received one million Tanzanian shillings ($430) from Kagera regional commissioner Albert Chalamila, who highlighted the “wonderful role” that volunteers played during the ceremony. On Monday, President Samia Suluhu Hassan praised volunteers and first responders for moving swiftly to save lives.

“I congratulate those who participated in the rescue, including the people of Bukoba,” she said on Twitter. “I pray for the deceased to rest in peace and for the injured to recover quickly.”

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