Eastern Africa News Network

Saved by the Belles: It Was Air Hostesses Who Actually Rescued Plane passengers

Tables have turned for the young man who has been getting all the credit for allegedly rescuing trapped passengers aboard the Precision Airline plane which plunged into Lake Victoria.

Majaliwa Jackson, whose canoe was among the fishermen boats that rowed the survivors to shore, was being hailed for single-handedly wrenching the aircraft’s door open.

Except latest reports are to the effect that the two air hostesses serving aboard the Flight PW 494 were actually the ones responsible for yanking the plane door open from inside.

One of the survivors, a Chinese National, confirms that it was the two lady crews who essentially saved the passenger in the first instance of getting them off the sinking aircraft.

Precision Air hostesses Brenda Temba (23) and Lydia Ramadhan (25) both survived from the Lake Victoria plane crash in Bukoba, Tanzania on November 6, 2022.

Brenda and Lydia: The real saviours that no one wants to acknowledge

The two air hostesses opened the plane door and helped to rescue 24 passengers.

But the two ladies’ story of exceptional bravery and heroism was never told

Zhang Lin, a Chinese passenger on the Precision Airplane confirms that brave air hostesses opened the door from inside, saving 26 people.

The two plane pilots as well as 17 other passengers were killed in the accident.

His testimony seems contrary to the narrative that a lone fisherman pulled open the door from outside

Zhang Ling (Right)

It was after the passengers got off the plane that the fishermen of Bukoba picked them in their hand peddled wooden boats to the dry land.

But until now, the young man named Majaliwa is being paraded around the country as a hero.

People believed he opened the plane door by hitting it with an oar.

“An ordinary lake fisherman wouldn’t be able to tell where the tightly sealed plane door was,” says an expert.

Plus, aircraft doors usually open from inside out, thus hitting it with a hammer, mallet or an oar would be useless.

What really happened according to Zhang Ling

The Chinese passenger, Zhang Lin, is the director of the engineering department at state-owned CCCC Second Highway Engineering Company.

He told the full story of the incident in an exclusive interview with the Global Times of China.

Zhang told the Global Times that he was going to fly from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba in Kagera Province on Sunday.

He chose the flight because he couldn’t get a ticket from other airlines and didn’t want to change his itinerary.

Local officials suggested bad weather may have played a part in the accident, saying the area had seen heavy rainfall and strong winds at the time.

The plane was caught in a thunderstorm when it arrived at Bukoba airport, and the plane began to descend after more than 20 minutes of circling.

Unfortunately, the plane accidentally crashed into Lake Victoria about 100 meters away from the airport during the landing.

“I was sitting in the second-to-last row of the cabin when water started flooding the front half of the cabin, and many passengers panicked and began to pray,” Zhang said.

He added that he first put on his life jacket and helped the stewardess open the emergency cabin door for other passengers.

After swimming out of the cabin, Zhang climbed onto the floating wing and helped to guide others to escape in an orderly manner.

Zhang said he saw someone at the door of the cabin holding a baby who was struggling to get out, and he immediately climbed onto the fuselage and took the baby into his arms.

“The situation was very urgent at that time, and I didn’t have time to think about it. I rushed over to rescue the baby as soon as I saw them,” Zhang said.

After seeing the plane crash, nearby fishermen immediately drove a small fishing boat to the scene of the accident to rescue Zhang and others were successfully rescued.

After safely reaching the shore, Zhang handed the baby over to doctors, and he was sent to a local hospital for further treatment.

Zhang told the Global Times that the mother of the rescued infant made a special trip to the hospital on Monday morning to visit him and express her gratitude.

“You are the one who saved my baby’s life, and things would have been unimaginable without you,” the mother said.

Related: Plane Crash Investigations

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