Plane crashes after take-off in Malta, killing all five on board

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

VALLETTA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - A light aircraft crashed after taking off from Malta's main airport early on Monday, killing all five people on board, officials there said, in the island nation's worst peacetime air accident.

Airport sources initially said the plane was believed to be carrying officials from European Union border agency Frontex. But the organization later said none of its staff was involved.

SEE ALSO: New poll suggests candidate can see huge loss

A military source at Malta International Airport said all five victims were French, though the French foreign ministry said it could not yet confirm that.

RELATED: International airplane deaths

Television footage showed flames rising from wreckage near the runway, sending thick black smoke into the sky.

PHOTOS: See the devastation in Malta

16 PHOTOS
Malta plane crash
See Gallery
Malta plane crash
Investigators and rescue services at the scene of a plane crash at the airport in Valletta, Malta, 24 October 2016. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA.
Investigators and rescue services at the scene of a plane crash at the airport in Valletta, Malta, 24 October 2016. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA.
Investigators and rescue services at the scene of a plane crash at the airport in Valletta, Malta, 24 October 2016. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA.
Investigators and rescue services at the scene of a plane crash at the airport in Valletta, Malta, 24 October 2016. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA.
Investigators and rescue services at the scene of a plane crash at the airport in Valletta, Malta, 24 October 2016. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA.
Rescue services at the scene of a light aircraft crash at the airport in Valletta, Malta, 24 October, 2016. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit-Lupi
Forensics work on the site of a small plane crash at Malta International Airport, on October 24, 2016. Five French nationals died when a small plane crashed shortly after take off from Malta's international airport, the island's government said. The plane had been chartered by French customs and had been involved in the surveillance of people and drugs trafficking off Malta, the government said in a statement. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Forensics work on the site of a small plane crash at Malta International Airport, on October 24, 2016. Five French nationals died when a small plane crashed shortly after take off from Malta's international airport, the island's government said. The plane had been chartered by French customs and had been involved in the surveillance of people and drugs trafficking off Malta, the government said in a statement. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
The body of a victim of a small plane crash at Malta International Airport, is removed from the scene on October 24, 2016. Five French nationals died when a small plane crashed shortly after take off from Malta's international airport, the island's government said. The plane had been chartered by French customs and had been involved in the surveillance of people and drugs trafficking off Malta, the government said in a statement. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of Malta's Armed Forces check the runway after a small passenger aircraft crashed on takeoff at Malta's international airport on October 24, 2016, killing all five people onboard, officials said. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency workers, firemen and policemen are seen at the site of the wreckage of a small twin engined plane which crashed shortly after takeover from Malta International Airport, killing five people, on October 24, 2016. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency workers are seen at the site of the wreckage of a small twin engined plane which crashed shortly after takeover from Malta International Airport, on October 24, 2016. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency workers are seen at the site of the wreckage of a small twin engined plane which crashed shortly after takeover from Malta International Airport, on October 24, 2016. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency workers are seen at the site of the wreckage of a small twin engined plane which crashed shortly after takeover from Malta International Airport, on October 24, 2016. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency workers are seen at the site of the wreckage of a small twin engined plane which crashed shortly after takeover from Malta International Airport, on October 24, 2016. / AFP / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Staff said investigations had begun and the aerodrome was closed until further notice. Several flights have been diverted to Sicily, many delayed and some canceled.

The twin-prop Fairchild Metroliner crashed at about 0520 GMT, the airport said.

"We can confirm that no European Union officials were on board. The plane also was not related to any of the European Union's activities," an EU spokesperson said.

Airport officials told Reuters the plane had been heading for Misrata in Libya.

RELATED: Malta overview

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
Rescuer Sees Bumps All Over This Dog's Skin - Then X-Rays Reveal The Tragic Story Rescuer Sees Bumps All Over This Dog's Skin - Then X-Rays Reveal The Tragic Story