After a Precision Air ATR-42 crashed into Lake Victoria, a few fishermen caught the plane first. One of them tells how he dived down to the cockpit.

The aircraft had only one operator. In August 2010, the ATR 42-500 with the registration number 5H-PWF was first delivered to Precision Air in Tanzania. Since then, the machine has been on the road for the airline with 48 seats. Until November 6, 2022.

On this day, the machine started in Dar es Salaam, made a scheduled stop in Mwanza and then headed for Bukoba on Lake Victoria. But during the landing approach, the plane crashed into the lake for reasons that are still unclear. It sank for the most part, on board 39 passengers, including one child, and four crew members. 19 of the people did not survive.

It is also thanks to a few fishermen that the other inmates survived. One of them, Majaliwa Jackson, later told the BBC how he used an oar to pry open the rear door of the plane, allowing people in the cabin to escape. The young man said he also dove down to the cockpit and signaled through the cockpit window to one of the pilots.

“He instructed me to smash the cockpit window,” said the fisherman. He then appeared and got an ax, but was eventually stopped by an airport security guard. He said they were already in contact with the pilots and that no water was getting into the cockpit. Jackson dove anyway, but without an axe.

The pilot signaled him again. “He pointed me to the emergency door in the cockpit,” said the fisherman. “I swam back and took a rope, tied it to the door and we tried to pull it with boats, but the rope broke and hit me in the face and knocked me unconscious.” Then he woke up again in the hospital.

The pilots could not be rescued and are among the fatalities. The ATR has now been recovered from the water. According to the BBC, Jackson received a financial reward for his work and a job offer with the fire and rescue services.

This article was written by Timo Nowack

The original of this article “19 dead in plane crash – fishermen prevent many more people from dying” comes from aeroTelegraph.