A Tanzanian fisherman Jackson Majaliwa, who forcefully split open a crashed plane to save 20 people has been gifted 1 million Tanzanian Shilling ($430) and appointed by the President.
Jackson had rescued the 20 passengers from Lake Victoria, even though he eventually lost consciousness himself, he’d listened to instructions while embarking on the rescue.
President Samia Suluhu also appointed the fisherman into the country’s Firefighting and Rescue brigade.
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Recall the small passenger plane crashed Sunday morning into Lake Victoria on approach to an airport in Tanzania.
Photos showed the plane, which was headed to Bukoba Airport, mostly submerged in the lake.
Of the 43 people on board the Precision Air flight, 19 people died and 24 survived.
Jackson said that he’d rushed to the scene with three fellow fishermen and helped open the rear door by smashing it with a rowing bar which helped passengers seated towards the rear of the plane to be rescued.
Mr Jackson said he then moved to the front and dived into the water. He and one of the pilots then communicated with each other by making signs through the cockpit window.
He told BBC:
“He directed me to break the window screen. I emerged from the water and asked airport security, who had arrived, if they have any tools that we can use to smash the screen.
“They gave me an axe, but I was stopped by a man with a public announcement speaker from going down and smashing the screen. He said they were already in communication with the pilots and there was no water leakage in the cockpit,” Mr Jackson said.
“He pointed out the cockpit emergency door to me. I swam back up and took a rope and tied it to the door and we tried to pull it with other boats, but the rope broke and hit me in the face and knocked me unconscious. The next thing I know I was here at the hospital,” Mr Jackson said.
Both pilots are among the 19 confirmed fatalities.
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— Latto 𝕏 (@Rydx_017) November 7, 2022