A Chinese passenger plane faltered during takeoff Tuesday and plunged into a river near the Shanghai airport, killing 18 people, the official New China news agency reported.
Television news said the Antonov-24, a twin turboprop of Soviet design, carried 32 passengers and eight crew members.
The news agency said rescuers were trying to extricate survivors from the wreckage near Hongqiao airport, 12 miles north of Shanghai.
The news agency quoted witnesses as saying the plane seemed to go out of control as it became airborne, then plunged into the river about 100 yards from the end of the runway.
Flight 5510 of China Eastern Airlines, a subsidiary of the national Civil Aviation Administration of China, was bound for Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province in southern China, about 400 miles southwest of Shanghai.
It was the first Chinese air accident since August, 1988, when a flight from Canton crashed while landing at Hong Kong, killing seven people.
Five major crashes, which killed 172 people, were reported in 1988.
Hu Yizhou, head of the national airline, said early this year there were “serious problems” with safety and called for improvements.
The worst death toll last year was in a crash near Chongqing in the southwest that killed all 108 people on the aircraft.