It was not known how many crew members were on the plane when it crashed on Saturday shortly after taking off from the town of Boende, more than 600km northeast of the capital Kinshasa.

"Today, at 4pm local time, right after take-off from Boende, there was a problem and the plane crashed, killing all 22 passengers and the staff on board," Information Minister Vital Kamerhe said.

He did not know the nationalities of the victims, nor who owned the plane.

Kamerhe said a team of government experts would be sent to Boende on Sunday to investigate the accident and search for the plane's black box.