A Zimbabwe cargo plane crashed shortly after taking off today from Shanghai's main international airport, killing three crew members, a government official said.
The official Xinhua News Agency cited Shanghai's municipal information office as saying three people died. A man answering the phone there confirmed the deaths and said one other crew member was seriously injured, with the other three slightly injured.
The man, surnamed Wang, said all of the crew members are foreigners but he did not know their nationalities.
China Central Television said the plane's tail struck the ground on takeoff, and an airport warehouse also caught fire in the crash. The report showed billowing thick black smoke at the scene, with police officers blocking closer access.
A reporter from Shanghai's Oriental Satellite Television told CCTV that the tail of the plane had broken in two or three parts, and hundreds of firefighters were spraying fire retardants on the plane.
The crash occurred at 7:40 am local time, Xinhua said. The plane, which had been headed to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, veered off the runway and burst into flames.
It was operated by Zimbabwe-based Avient Aviation.
CCTV said two runways at the airport were shut down. A woman answering the phone at the airport's information desk said international and domestic departing flights were delayed.