Reuters: Plane on French surveillance mission crashes in Malta, five dead
A small aircraft conducting a surveillance mission over the Mediterranean for France's defense ministry crashed on take-off in Malta on Monday, killing all five people on board.
The ministry declined to say what the purpose of the surveillance operation was. Airport officials said the plane had been heading for Misrata in Libya, where some Western powers have sent small teams of special forces to support the new U.N.-backed unity government in its fight against Islamist militants.
The twin-prop Fairchild Metroliner went down near the runway of the southern Mediterranean island nation's main airport in the morning, sending smoke billowing into the sky. Malta International Airport was closed for several hours.
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Update #1: Terrifying footage captures the moment a 'spy plane' tracing migrant trafficking routes explodes in a ball of flames in Malta, killing five on board (Daily Mail)
Update #2: Plane crash in Malta kills 5 in surveillance operation (CNN)
WNU Editor: No one could have survived that crash.