The French Defence Ministry has confirmed that three of its officials and two private contractors were killed in the crash of a light aircraft in Malta on Monday
The plane, taking part in a surveillance mission over the Mediterranean, came down during take off from the international airport, in what is described as Malta’s worst peacetime air accident.
An investigation is underway.
Initial reports suggested officials from the EU’s border agency Frontex were aboard the plane.
But Frontex swiftly denied this.
Eye-witnesses told The Times of Malta that they had seen the plane take off before tipping to its right side and then plummeting “straight down into the ground” and bursting into flames.