The death toll in the crash of a passenger plane in northern China now stands at 54, with the discovery of one victim on the ground.

The official Xinhua news agency had earlier reported two people had been killed on the ground, but later changed the figure to one.

The China Eastern Airlines jet, carrying 53 passengers and crew, plunged into a lake in Nanhai Park just seconds after taking off from Baotou city in Inner Mongolia at about 8:20 a.m., local time [0020 UTC].

Witnesses said they heard a blast while the plane was still in the air. The aircraft broke into flaming fragments as it came down, damaging a house near the lake and scorching several yachts.

The aircraft was a Canadian-made Bombardier CRJ-200, a commuter jet designed to carry 50 passengers.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.