SHANGHAI - A Zimbabwean-registered cargo plane en route to Kyrgyzstan crashed on take-off in Shanghai on Saturday, killing three U.S. crew on board and triggering a fire, state media and a U.S. spokesman said.

The plane, which had seven people on board, left the runway and crashed into a storage building, China's national broadcaster, CCTV, reported, starting the fire and sending a large plume of black smoke over the airport.

The accident happened at Pudong airport. The plane, registered in Zimbabwe, was scheduled to fly to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, Xinhua news agency said.

Richard Buangan, deputy spokesman at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, said there were four Americans on board. Three of them are confirmed dead, and one is injured, he said.

The other crew members were also taken to hospital with injuries.

Airport authorities declined to comment on the accident but said there were delays in flights leaving Shanghai. The Zimbabwe Embassy could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee, Rujun Shen and Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Dominic Evans)