A military plane has crashed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, killing 10 people including the pilot, Yemen's defence ministry and an airport source said.

The cargo plane tried to make an emergency landing at an air base near Sanaa's main airport on Wednesday when one of its engines failed.

"An Antonov crashed following a technical problem. The pilot and nine other people were killed," a statement on the defence ministry's website 26Sep.net said.

The plane crashed in Sanaa's northern neighbourhood of Al-Hassaba, according to an AFP news agency photographer who saw three charred bodies lying on the ground at the crash site.

"The military aircraft, which was on a training mission, tried to make an emergency landing after its engine failed but crashed at Al-Hassaba," a source at the airport told AFP.

A resident said three explosions occurred as the plane crashed, followed by plumes of smoke.

Firefighters and ambulances raced to the site, while a helicopter flew overhead, according to residents.

Source: Agencies