At least 16 people were killed when an aircraft operated by the UN mission in Democratic Republic of Congo crashed on landing at Kinshasa airport Monday, an AFP correspondent witnessed.

The aircraft broke up into several pieces when it hit the runway in torrential rain as the pilot was trying to land shortly after 1300 GMT.

The correspondent saw 16 bodies brought out of the wreckage, and an airport official said three or four survivors had been rescued. Around 30 people were reported to have been on board.

Aircraft accidents are common in DR Congo but this was the first involving a plane of the UN mission in the country, known as Monusco, which was set up in 1999.

The plane had flown in from Kisangani in the northeast of the country.

No UN official was immediately available for comment on the accident or further information. -