KIGALI, RWANDA, DEC. 4 -- An airplane carrying 12 Americans on a photographic safari crashed into a remote mountainous area of East Africa, killing all 14 persons aboard, U.S. officials said today.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Rwanda said the plane crashed yesterday afternoon in wild country near the town of Giseny, 45 miles northwest of the capital, Kigali.

A tour company said the group was returning from a trip to search for mountain gorillas.

{Aviation officials said the chartered plane failed to gain altitude after taking off from Goma, in eastern Zaire, and struck a mountain in neighboring Rwanda, Reuter reported. Witnesses said passengers threw hand luggage from the plane in an attempt to keep it airborne.}

The embassy spokesman said all 14 people aboard the twin-propeller Cessna 404 aircraft were killed, including 11 American tourists and Andrew Foster, of Flint, Mich., a missionary who worked in Zaire.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo said three of those aboard the airplane were faculty members at the school. They were Dr. Thelma Yambao, 42, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology; Dr. Mary Slater, 37, a pediatrician; and Dr. Danny Schwartz, 45, also an obstetrician and gynecologist.

A university spokesman said another of those killed was Ernie Farino, a medical photographer who sometimes worked for the Health Sciences Center. His wife, Shirley Farino, an administrative assistant at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Amarillo, and the couple's daughter, Becky Fergerson, also died in the crash.

Also killed were Jill Cowan and Nancy Gerald, both of Amarillo, and Franz Heber of Monument, Colo., the tour guide for the Amarillo group.

The State Department identified the other dead Americans as Thomas Askelson of Sycamore, Ill., and Donald Wilberforce of Amarillo.

The pilot was Kenyan and one passenger was Zairian.