At least three survivors were taken to hospital, police sources said, though the exact number of passengers on board was still unclear.
The aircraft, a Fokker belonging to the local CAA company, was coming from the central mining town of Lodja and went down just before landing at Goma airport, the sources said.
The accident took place during heavy rainfall.
“We don’t yet know the number of victims because we’re still looking to get the (passenger) manifest from Lodja. But we estimate there could be between 30 and 50 deaths,” Julien Paluku, governor of North Kivu province which has Goma as its capital, told AFP.
Aircraft accidents are frequent in the vast DR Congo, where many planes are old and airports lack modern equipment. All of the country’s roughly 50 airlines are on the blacklist of the European Union, which has banned them from its airspace.
In February 2012, a close aide to DR Congo President Joseph Kabila was killed when his plane overshot the runway at Bukavu airport in the country’s east.