A Pakistani Boeing 707 airliner carrying 151 people crashed in a remote area of Saudi Arabia today after its captain radioed a "May Day" distress call and said his cabin was filled with smoke.

A Saudi Arabian Air Force helicopter has landed at the crash scene, about 30 miles north of the city of Taif, but there was no immediate news of any survivors.

In Karachi, a spokesman for the plane's operators, Pakistan International Airlines, said debris from the plane was spread over a three-mile radius and was still burning.

The plane came down shortly after takeoff from Jeddah, where it had made a stopover on a flight between Kano in Nigeria and Karachi. It was carrying 140 passengers and 11 crew members.

Some of the passengers were Pakistani pilgrims returning from Mecca, scene of last week's siege in which Islamic extremists occupied the Great Mosque by force for five days.

The plane had been missing since early today when the Jeddah airport control tower lost radio contact with it, the government-controlled Pakistan Radio said.

It said the aircraft was believed to have gone down somewhere between Mecca and Taif about 70 miles northeast of Jeddah.

A government statement said soon after takeoff, the captain of the plane reported smoke in the cabin. The statement added, "Thereafter contact with the plane was lost."