A Fisherman Tried to Rescue Passengers in the Tanzania Plane Crash

By Hannah Lozada

A fisherman named Majailwa Jackson was one of the first people on the scene at a plane crash at Lake Victoria, Tanzania. He almost died while trying to save the pilots who were stuck in the cockpit of the plane. Majaliwa Jackson has been given 1 million Tanzanian shillings (About $430 USD) and was offered to work in the fire brigade for his brave actions.

A plane left the commercial capital Dar es Salaam on Sunday and planned to stop at Mwanza. However, it crashed before it could reach its destination at around 05:50 GMT while it was approaching Bukoba airport. The crash might’ve been caused due to the heavy rains and strong winds. 

From a BBC interview, Mr. Jackson panicked as he witnessed the plane plunge into the lake. Jackson and three other fishermen immediately went to the scene, and used a rowing oar to smash the rear door open. This helped the passengers who were sitting near the rear of the plane escape. Mr. Jackson stated that he moved to the front of the plane and plunged into the water. Then, he communicated with one of the pilots by making hand gestures through the cockpit window. 

From the hand gestures, the pilot suggested escaping through the window screen. Mr. Jackson emerged from the water to ask the airport security if they had anything that could break the screen. Thankfully, Jackson was given an ax. However, a man made an announcement, stating that Jackson shouldn’t break the window screen. He explained that they had communication with the pilots and that they weren’t at risk of drowning inside the cockpit. 

Jackson went back into the water to wave goodbye to the pilot. However, the pilot pointed to the cockpit’s emergency door, and indicated that he still wanted to escape. Jackson understood, went back up to the surface and grabbed a rope. He tied the rope to the door and tried to pull it open using other boats. However, the rope broke apart and hit Jackson in the face, rendering him unconscious. 

Jackson was brought to a hospital, where he is recovering. 

Both of the pilots, along with 17 other passengers, sadly didn’t make it. Precision Air states that 24 people survived while 19 people died. A service was held at a local football stadium in Bukoba for the 19 victims. Tanzania’s Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, confirmed that the victim’s funerals will be covered by the government. He also stated that there would be an investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.

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