19 Killed In Tanzania ATR Crash


At least 19 people were killed in crash of a Precision Air ATR 42 near the shore of Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday. There were 43 people on the flight manifest but two of those killed were not listed. It’s not clear if they were rescue workers or airline workers who were not on the manifest. “We will investigate where did the other two come from,” said Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa. According to a CNN report, at least 26 people were rescued from the aircraft, which ended up in shallow water near Bukoba Airport, which is adjacent to the lake.

The aircraft was on a flight from Dar es Salaam. After the crash, survivors climbed on to the wings to await rescue. The BBC is reporting that the accident occurred in bad weather. “Rescue operations are underway, we have so far rescued several people and eventually we will make sure we have rescued everyone and removed the airplane out of the water,” local police commander William Mwampaghale told CNN. “Those who have been rescued have been taken to our referral hospital.” 

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. The ATR has had a checkered past, though the company has done their utmost to improve their product. Weather will be a factor, but two problems will prevail in any efforts to gain insight into this tragedy: It occurred overseas, and the plane is not built in the U.S., so it’s likely the NTSB will not be involved with the investigation. As long as there’s a “Global” hubris to dissolve borders and formulate international administrations, they might pool aircraft accident investigation agencies into a web resource for people to study these mishaps without having to interact with foreign bureaucracies.

      • The NTSB is the foremost accident investigation agency, but they take a looong time to finalize their Probable Cause Reports. It’s a great advantage for aircraft accident researchers to have access to videos, online flight tracking data, virtually instant radio transmissions and analysis by the agencies you’ve mentioned. The Blancolirio channel is a good source of color commentary on this topic, but he has as much access as anyone to these resources. I’ll take a stab at the weather being a contributing factor, but it’s best to hold your horses until the whole picture is presented.

    • Yep. But you have to be resigned to that possibility, and adopt the attitude that something will happen during your airborne travails. Fer instance: During takeoffs, does the pilot scan the area ahead for possible landing sites, should the engine fail? During landings, do pilots perform the standard checks on final? (Landing Gear Check, Prop(s) Forward, Flaps Set) While climbing, do pilots angle slightly for a look ahead? One pertinent safety consideration is manual flight proficiency. Do automation-acclimated pilots occasionally pickle those gizmos and fly the plane? This tragedy has the earmarks of weather being a contributing factor. Scheduled airline pilots should lose a gallon of sweat during their IMC simulator sessions, so when they’re in the soup flying the real thing, they’ll be dry and comfortable.

  2. Looking at the photographs it is hard to understand how so many died. The plane is intact and in fairly shallow water.

  3. Depending upon impact forces, passengers and crew might be stunned, or even unconscious (You know, like some people in Washington?) Those passengers were likely not donned in life vests. People also panic, and they’ll jam exits, open doors to escape fire or, in this case, cabin flooding, which worsens that hazard. Many airline passengers don’t absorb pertinent information from briefings repeated by the cabin crew, and they’ll have no idea what to do when their plane crashes. There are a few previous examples of planes ditching in relatively shallow water which resulted in fatalities. National Airlines flight 193 was such a tragedy.