Four people are dead and seven missing after a jet carrying officials from Equatorial Guinea's ruling political party plunged into the Gulf of Guinea Wednesday morning. Uma Ramiah reports for the VOA from our West Africa bureau in Dakkar.

The plane crashed at sea while trying to land on the island of Annobon, a government spokesperson of the oil rich, tropical West African country said Wednesday.

Journalist Rodrigo Angue Nguema, in the capital Malabo, said passengers onboard were members of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea.

Airport officials told the French news agency AFP the plane was carrying government ministers, lawmakers and senior officials from Annobon.

The officials were headed to Annobon, 435 miles southwest of Malabo, to launch a political campaign.

Equatorial Guinea is set to hold legislative elections on May 4.

The journalist said the Russian-made jet belonging to the country's ministry of defense was carrying five crew members and six passengers. The flight originated from Bata, Equatorial Guinea's economic hub on the mainland.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash.

Equatorial Guinea's planes are blacklisted by the European Union on grounds of safety. They are not allowed to travel in EU airspace.

Equatorial Guinea is one of the largest oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, but despite a growing economy, the country remains at the bottom of a United Nations index measuring development.