Seven people on board a chartered TanzanAir aircraft from Bukoba town to Dar es Salaam, narrowly escaped death when it made an emergency landing in Lake Manyara, Babati, Manyara Region, on Thursday morning.
The Arusha Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Liberatus Sabas, told the 'Daily News' in a telephone interview that all the six passengers and the pilot were in good condition.
He named the passengers as Aneth Kashasha (51), Mutabihirwa Regina (58), Aloys Mwanga (60), Navuli Meeda (80), Ashura Ruta (38) and Protase Ishengoma (45) all residents of Dar es Salaam.
The pilot was identified by single name as Capt Kondo of TanzanAir with registration number 5H TZW. According to RPC Sabas, the charter plane was flying from Bukoba to Dar es Salaam via Zanzibar.
He said the plane developed mechanical problems in one of its engines and the pilot decided to make an emergency landing on the waters of Lake Manyara. The passengers were rescued by fishermen who rushed them to Selian Hospital for treatment.
The Manyara Regional Commissioner, Mr Akili Mpwapwa, said the incident occurred in the Babati section of the water body striding Lake Manyara National Park. Mr Sabas said three among the six passengers sustained minor injuries.
"We thank God all the six passengers and the pilot are in good condition," he said. Sources said Ishengoma, Kashasha and Mwanga had been in Bukoba to attend the funeral of Joseph Mushumbusi's mother, the late Ernestina Mujwahuzi, who was buried at Kanazi Village, in Bukoba Rural District on Wednesday.
Soon after news of the crash reached Bukoba town, friends and relatives of the passengers on board the plane made frantic efforts to know the fate of their beloved ones, fearing the worst.
The Tanzania National Parks through its Public Relations Manager, Mr Paschal Shelutete said efforts to remove the wreckage from the site were going on. This is the third plane crash to occur in Arusha this year, the first one claimed the life of Mr Joseph Macha, the Arusha prominent businessman popularly known as Bob Sambeke, who crashed while trying to land at Arusha Airport, last April.
Two weeks ago, the flying doctor's plane which was traveling from Enduleni Ward of Ngorongoro District to Arusha via Longido also crashed at Merugway Village in Longido District with six patients and two pilots on board.