Fiery Malta plane crash claims lives

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A military plane carrying French nationals has crashed in Malta. All five aboard are believed to have perished in the early morning mishap.

A light plane crashed Monday, shortly after take-off from Malta’s airport in Luqa, killing five French nationals, airport sources said. Earlier reports had said the passengers were from Frontex, the EU border agency, but the Warsaw-based agency quickly issued a statement saying its staff were not involved.

Witnesses said the plane was registered in Luxembourg and crashed near the runway soon after take-off at 7.10 a.m. (0510 UTC) and subsequently burst into flames.

Times of Malta reported that some of the burning wreckage ended up on the airport perimeter road and firefighters on the scene were spraying the area with flame retardant foam.

The twin-prop Metroliner plane can carry around 10 people. Its flight plan was logged for Misrata in Libya, officials said. The fatal crash is Malta’s worst peacetime aircraft crash. Malta’s sole airport remains closed until further notice.

jar/kl  (Reuters, dpa)

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