BRUSSELS - A plane carrying 10 parachutists crashed shortly after takeoff in southern Belgium on Saturday, killing all the passengers on board, the local mayor said.

"The plane took off from Temploux aerodrome with 10 parachutists and probably a pilot on board and crashed around 10 minutes later in a field. All those on board are unfortunately dead. The toll is 10 or 11 victims," the mayor of Fernelmont, Jean-Claude Nihoul, told AFP.

He added it was "very difficult" to be more precise given the state of the aircraft which was "unrecognisable" after being "burned up".

The small plane came down around 250 metres (yards) from houses near the village of Marchovelette, 10 kilometres (six miles) from the southern city of Namur, the mayor added.

Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo said he "learned with sadness of the tragic plane accident near Namur."

He offered his "most sincere condolences to the families and relatives" of the victims.

"I just saw a plane lose its right wing in mid-flight and crash. I heard a massive 'bang' towards the south of Marchovelette. I didn't see anyone escape with a parachute," one witness told local television channel RTL.

Firefighters said the accident took place just before 4:00 pm local time (1400 GMT).

Another local witness described seeing the plane fly over him with "pieces falling off it."

"Then the plane's nose dropped and it crashed 200 metres further on," the witness added.