The DC-9 airliner which crashed while taking off from Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo appeared to have broken in half.
As smoke billowed from the area, emergency services searched for casualties both in the plane and on the ground.
People threw basins of water on the burning wreckage of the plane, which appeared to have struck several buildings.
Reports varied as to the number of people killed or injured but the nose of the plane appeared more or less intact.
There were fears of many casualties on the ground in the busy shopping district of Birere.
United Nations personnel could be seen helping with the rescue.