AT least six people are dead, including two people on the ground, after a small chartered plane crashed into a busy area of Mumbai.

The aircraft hit an open area at a construction site for a multi-storey building in the Ghatkopar district – a crowded area filled residential apartments.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) said the fatalities included two pilots and two flight engineers on the aircraft.

Police officer Ashok Shirsad announced two people on the ground were also killed.

The 12-seat Beechcraft King Air C90 is believed to have crashed after taking off on a test flight from Mumbai’s Juhu airstrip, which is used by small planes and is some distance from the city’s main airport.

Television images showed parts of the plane burning on the ground as eight fire engines attended the site of the fire.

The bodies recovered from the wreckage were badly burned, according to fire official R Pawar.

Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash.