The head of Rwanda's national airline says one person has died after a passenger plane crashed into the airport's VIP lounge.

Rwandair executive Jack Ekl said Friday the pilot had reported technical difficulties after taking off from the Rwandan capital of Kigali.

He says the plane tried to make an emergency landing but crashed into the VIP lounge at the airport on Thursday afternoon.

The plane had been on its way to Uganda.

Ekl said investigations were under way to determine exactly what went wrong but he believed a problem had developed with the engine.