French investigators head to Tanzania to help probe plane crash

French air accident investigators are being deployed to Tanzania to assist in the investigation of a passenger plane crash which killed at least 19 people on Sunday.

A spokesperson for France’s BEA air accident investigation agency said on Monday it was sending a team to Tanzania along with technical advisers from Franco-Italian planemaker ATR, which built the ATR 42-500 turboprop.

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At least 19 people died when the plane crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania on Sunday while trying to land at a nearby airport, the prime minister and airline said.

Flight PW494, operated by Precision Air, hit the water during storms and heavy rain, state Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) reported.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said investigators had launched a probe into what had happened.

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Experts say most accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors that take months to understand fully.

Under international rules, the locally led investigation would usually include the participation of authorities in France, where the plane was designed, and Canada, where its Pratt & Whitney engines were developed.

ATR said it was “fully engaged to support the customer and the investigation”.

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