Plane crashes on takeoff at Malta airport, five aboard killed

Five people were killed in the crash

Members of Malta's Armed Forces check the runway after a small passenger aircraft crashed on takeoff at Malta's worldwide airport on 24 October 2016, killing all five people onboard, officials said.

A light plane has crashed after takeoff from Malta International Airport, killing all five people on board.

Five French nationals have been killed when a military aircraft crashed on take-off from Malta in the island nation's worst peacetime air accident.

A fireball belched black smoke from the runway of Malta International Airport and all departures and arrivals were cancelled until further notice.

The French defence ministry said the victims - three defence ministry officials and two private contractors - had been conducting a surveillance operation.

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

"No Frontex staff was involved in the plane crash in Malta", the agency said on Twitter.

It added that the flight was part of a French customs surveillance operation tracing routes of illicit trafficking, including drugs and people-smuggling. The government said the French customs operation had been active for about five months.

Five people died after their airplane crashed during takeoff from the Mediterranean archipelago of Malta early Monday, officials said.

The Fairchild Metroliner, registration number N577MX, was registered to Canada-based CAE Aviation, a major civil and defence contractor offering aircraft simulation and training to civilian clients as well as many defence and security agencies, including all United States services.

An eyewitness at the airport, Edward De Gaetano, told Sky News that passengers at the airport had been taken to a safe area.

However, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said no EU officials were involved in the crash.

The airport has been reopened, albeit on operational slowdown, to allow flights to land and take off, it said.

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