People are pictured by the check-in counters of China Eastern Airlines in Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai on March 21, 2022. AFP
"The company expresses its deep condolences for the passengers and crew members who died in the plane crash," the company said in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, without giving details on the number of people killed.
Earlier today, Chinese President Xi called for "all efforts" towards the rescue and to find out the "cause of the accident as soon as possible", according to state broadcaster CCTV.
"We are shocked to learn of the China Eastern U5735 accident," he said.
A villager surnamed Liu told state-run China News Service that he had driven a motorbike to the scene after hearing a loud explosion.
He said he saw debris on the ground, including an aircraft wing and fragments of clothing hanging from trees.
China had enjoyed an enviable air safety record in recent years as the country was crisscrossed by newly built airports and serviced by new airlines established to match breakneck growth over the last few decades.
A Henan Airlines flight crashed in northeastern Heilongjiang province in 2010, killing at least 42 out of 92 people on board, although the final toll was never confirmed. It was the last Chinese commercial passenger flight crash that caused civilian casualties.
The deadliest Chinese commercial flight crash was a China Northwest Airlines crash in 1994, which killed all 160 onboard.