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Three dead after commercial aircraft crashes into Lake Victoria in Tanzania

CNN  — 

At least three people died Sunday after a commercial flight operated by Precision Air crash landed in Lake Victoria in Tanzania.

The bodies of two men and one woman were retrieved from the aircraft, Kagera provincial commissioner Albert Chalamila told reporters, without providing more details.

At least 26 people had been rescued so far with rescue operations ongoing, the airline said.

The flight had taken off from Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam and was headed to the city of Bukoba before it plunged into Lake Victoria as it was approaching the airport.

A total of 43 people were on the flight, including 39 passengers and four crew members, according to the airline and Chalamila.

Video circulating on social media taken by onlookers on the shores of Lake Victoria showed the aircraft submerged in the water with emergency responders coordinating rescue efforts from nearby boats.

“We’re trying to pull out the aircraft from the water. We’re trying to check if the wheels hit the ground under water or figure out some other way to push it out of the lake. At this time, there is still communication from the cockpit. The pilots are still in contact with us,” Chalamila said.

Speaking from the scene, Kagera provincial police commander William Mwampaghale said “everything is currently under control.”

“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,” he said. “Those who have been rescued have been taken to our referral hospital.”

Social media video showed the plane almost fully submerged with only the green and yellow livery on the aircraft's tail visible above the waterline.

Tanzania’s President took to social media to call for calm while rescuers worked at the site of a downed plane.

“I have received with sadness the information of the crash of the Precision Air flight at Lake Victoria, in the Kagera region,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan wrote on Twitter Sunday.

“I send my condolences to all those affected by this incident. Let’s continue to be calm as the rescue operation continues and we pray to God to help us.”

Precision Air is a Tanzanian airline based out of Dar es Salaam.

CNN’s Chris Liakos contributed to this report.

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