Tanzanian authorities said Thursday that the pilots of a Precision Air plane that crashed into Lake Victoria in November killing 19 people had ignored automatic alerts about the plane’s dangerous position.
Nineteen people were killed on 6 November when the plane, with 43 people on board, plunged into the waters of Africa’s largest lake, triggering rescue operations by rescuers, fishermen and residents to try to recover survivors.
Police blamed bad weather for the accident, which was considered the worst in decades in Tanzania.
In the face of anger over the accident, President Samia Suluhu Hassan promised an investigation and ordered the strengthening of the country’s emergency response.
In the second preliminary report released since the crash, the transport ministry said on Thursday that the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) had issued three alerts indicating a rapid descent of the plane.
“The alert was not followed by any corrective action by the crew,” the ministry’s accident investigation department said, adding that the crew had put the plane in a nose-down attitude.
The report said the plane was flying in bad weather and reduced visibility, which “may have contributed to the lack of response to the alert”.
Another report, published shortly after the accident, pointed to shortcomings in the rescue system, adding that more passengers could have been saved with better organisation.