Passenger plane plunged into the sea near Tahiti

The passenger plane plunged into the sea near Tahiti moments after take-off from a nearby island and all 20 people on board are feared dead.

Nineteen passengers and a pilot were aboard the Twin Otter turboprop aircraft which overshot the runway and crashed into a lagoon during take-off about 12.15pm local time (8.15am AEST).

Police said 14 bodies had been recovered including that of the pilot but no survivors had been found.

A spokeswoman for Air Moorea said all 20 people aboard the aircraft were feared killed.

Radio reports said two members of a European Commission (EC) delegation may have been on the plane.

It is understood they recently met French Polynesian President Gaston Tong Sang and were about to return to Europe, Herald and Weekly Times reports.

The DFAT spokesman said Australia's consul in Noumea was travelling to Tahiti to join Australia's honorary consul in French Polynesia.

Two Americans and two European Union officials were also aboard the plane, along with a number of local officials, authorities in French Polynesia said.

Witnesses said they saw the Air Moorea turboprop aircraft ploughing into the waves soon after taking off from Moorea's Tamae airport today for the 17-kilometre flight to the nearby South Pacific island of Tahiti.

"The plane seemed to have difficulty gaining altitude," an airport employee who saw the crash said.

"Then it plunged and you could hear the noise of the explosion," The Age informs.

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