COMO, ITALY, OCT. 15 -- An Italian airliner carrying 37 people on a flight from Milan to West Germany crashed today in the foothills of the Italian Alps during a heavy rainstorm, authorities said.

There was no word from the mountainous crash site whether there were any survivors.

Spokesmen for two fire departments conducting search efforts in the area near Lake Como in northern Italy confirmed that the plane had gone down, but said they could not pinpoint the crash site.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with Flight 460 of the state-run Alitalia subsidiary ATI at about 7:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. EDT), 15 minutes after it had taken off from Milan's Linate Airport for Cologne, West Germany, airline spokesman Roberto Panico said.

The plane was carrying 34 passengers and three crew, Panico said.

The Italian news agency ANSA said five passengers and the crew were Italian and the rest were thought to be German. It described the plane as an ATR42, a twin turboprop constructed for Alitalia jointly by the Italian Aeritalia firm and a French aerospace consortium.

Spokesmen for the fire departments in the towns of Lecco and Como, both about 30 miles north of the financial center of Milan, said rescue crews were combing the mountainous area, but had not yet ascertained where it crashed.

Italian news agencies, quoting local police sources, said the plane apparently went down at the 2,300-foot level of Mount Crezzo, near the small town of Barni near Lake Como.

The agencies said search and rescue efforts were being hampered by the driving rains, wind and rough terrain.

They also said no dwellings appeared to have been struck in the crash, which occurred in a sparsely populated area.

Officials at the Cologne-Bonn airport said they had informed relatives of the plane's passengers that the aircraft had disappeared. No passenger list was released.