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Indonesian passenger plane crashes after take off

Article image for Indonesian passenger plane crashes after take off

A Boeing 737 passenger plane has crashed after taking off from Jakarta’s international airport, with 188 people feared dead.

Budget carrier Lion Air says it lost contact with the aircraft 13 minutes after takeoff around 7.50am local time Monday morning.

It was headed to Pangkal Pinang, the main city in Indonesia’s Bangka Belitung Islands.

Fuel and debris have been found at the suspected crash site, and divers are being brought in to access the wreckage.

Flight tracker websites report the aircraft had vanished from ground control displays soon after takeoff.

Indonesian officials say it was carrying 178 adults, one child and two babies, as well as two pilots and five cabin crew.

Australia’s embassy in Jakarta is making urgent enquiries to determine if any Australians were on board when a plane crashed into the Java Sea.

Indonesia’s disaster agency official Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tweeted images which he says show debris and personal belongings that came from the aircraft.

Australian government officials have been warned not to fly with Lion Air after the crash.

More than 20 Indonesian government officials were on board.

Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas tells Deborah Knight the plane only reached an altitude of 1800 metres when trouble struck.

“Whatever problem they were having obviously overcame them very quickly because contact was lost with the airplane.

“At this stage, it’s almost impossible to tell what might have caused this terrible tragedy.”

Click PLAY below to hear an update from Geoffrey Thomas