Chinese Military Plane Crashes; Casualties Unknown

A military transport plane carrying 40 has crashed in eastern China's Anhui province, the government said Sunday. A local official said at least five people were killed.

Villagers described a chaotic crash scene, with bodies and body parts strewn across a mountain slope.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday's crash was under investigation, citing a military staffer whose name was not given. At least 40 people were on the plane, Xinhua reported.

An official who answered the phone at the Anhui provincial government office said five bodies had been recovered.

The official, who refused to give his name, said the crash occurred in Yaocun, a village in Anhui's eastern Guangde county. He said he did not know how many people had been on board.

Guangde, 125 miles southwest of Shanghai, encompasses a handful of low mountain villages famous for producing bamboo furniture.

Villagers rushed the area after hearing an explosion, said a man from Tongkai village, three miles from the crash site.

The man, who was reached by telephone and would only give his surname, Tang, said the main body of the plane crashed into a mountain, destroying a section of bamboo forest. The tail dropped onto farm fields, he said.

Tang said he went to the mountain site before the area had been cordoned off, and saw two male bodies and numerous body parts strewn about.

A woman from Yaocun village who would only give her surname, Gao, said she rushed to the scene shortly after the crash and saw thick black smoke billowing up from the wrecked plane. She also said she saw two male bodies in civilian clothing and numerous body parts.

Gao and Tang both said the area had since been closed off by officials.

A woman who answered the phone at the Guangde county government office said she was unaware of any plane crash. She wouldn't give her name.

A man who answered the phone at the Foreign Affairs office of the Defense Ministry said he had no information about a military plane crash and refused to give his name.