Dozens of people are feared dead in a passenger plane crash in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although rescuers have pulled up to 40 survivors from the wreckage, according to a government spokesman.

The Hewa Bora Airways plane, carrying 112 people, crashed on landing at Kisangani airport in the northeast of the country on Friday.

"The crash happened about 200 metres from Kisangani airport during landing in heavy rain. We have already removed 40 survivors," government spokesman Lambert Mende told Reuters. "The rescue operations are continuing."

"The pilot tried to land but apparently they didn't touch the runway," Stavros Papaioannou, chief executive of Hewa Bora airline, told Reuters by telephone.

Hewa Bora is on a European Union list of airlines banned due to security concerns, as are all carriers certified in Congo.

It is the second fatal accident involving the airline in three years, after its DC-9 airliner ploughed into a suburb of the eastern Congolese city of Goma, killing 44, in 2008.

Source: Agencies