An Air India passenger plane has crashed after overshooting an airport runway while trying to land in the southern part of the country, killing as many as 160 people on board.

The aircraft was arriving from Dubai early Saturday when it missed the Mangalore airport runway in Karnataka state and burst into flames.

Early reports from the scene say only six or seven people may have survived of the 166 or so on board.

Television images showed smoke rising from the aircraft as rescuers struggled to bring the fire under control and reach those inside.  One channel showed a rescuer carrying in his arms what appeared to be the burned remains of a child.  

The crash happened about 10 kilometers from the Mangalore airport.

The chief minister of Karnataka state, B.S. Yeddyurappa, called the crash a "great tragedy."

Air India has set up a helpline for relatives and friends who need more information (011-25603101).

Officials have not determined the cause of the crash, but some media reports said poor visibility from heavy rains in the area may have played a role.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.