Pope Francis prays on St. Peter’s Square, Oct. 5, 2022 / Daniel Ibáñez / CNA

Rome Newsroom, Nov 8, 2022 / 04:12 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has sent a message to victims of a plane crash in Tanzania. He said he is praying for those who have died and their families.

The airline confirmed Nov. 7 that 19 people died after a commercial airplane crash-landed in Lake Victoria on its way to the town of Bukoba in north Tanzania on Sunday. Another 24 people have survived.

“Pope Francis sends condolences and offers the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this tragedy, especially the families of the victims,” a Vatican telegram said.

The message, sent Monday night, was signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

Pope Francis “prays in particular for the eternal repose of the deceased, the healing of the injured and strength for those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts,” the message said. “Upon all, His Holiness invokes the consolation and peace of Almighty God.”

The Precision Air flight left Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam on the morning of Nov. 6, before being caught in bad weather and crashing in Lake Victoria, one of the African Great Lakes, according to media reports.

The plane was carrying 39 passengers and four crew members. The two flight attendants survived, while the two pilots, who initially survived the crash, died before they could be rescued, Albert Chalamila, the chief administrator of Tanzania’s Kagera Region, told Reuters.

The African continent’s largest lake by area, Lake Victoria, spans northern Tanzania and southern Uganda and reaches partly into Kenya. The town of Bukoba, the flight’s destination, is on the lake’s southwestern shore.

The Catholic bishops of Tanzania extended their condolences to victims of the plane crash in a message Monday.

They said the country’s bishops’ conference “wishes the family members and all Tanzanians strength during this difficult time.”

“Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen,” the bishops wrote.

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