Chinese president orders investigation after military plane crashes

The Xinhua report late Sunday was the first official confirmation of the death toll from Saturday afternoon's crash. Villagers near the crash site in Anhui province described a gruesome scene, with bodies and body parts strewn across a mountain slope where the plane went down.

Immediately after learning of the crash, Hu, who heads the Communist Party commission that oversees the military, ordered an investigation team led by a senior general to the crash site to determine the cause, Xinhua said, citing unidentified sources from China's Air Force.

The Chinese military is routinely tightlipped about its activities and mishaps, drawing criticism from foreign governments, especially the United States, for its secrecy, the AP reports.

A spokesman from the Defense Ministry said there was no official statement yet. "It's not convenient for me to say anything now," said the spokesman who refused to give his name.

Hu has demanded that the military "draw lesson from the crash in a serious and earnest manner," Xinhua said.