Five French defense officials killed in small aircraft cash in Malta

Three French defense officials and two contractors were killed aboard a small aircraft when it crashed early Monday at Malta international aircraft shortly after takeoff for Misrata in northwestern Libya.

The Maltese government said there was no indication of an explosion prior to the plane’s impact, and confirmed the officials aboard were on a French Customs surveillance operation for tracing Illicit trafficking routes, including human and drug trafficking. A plane-spotter who witnessed the accident said: “It was an explosion, a right ball of fire.” The plane was seen rising in the air and nose-diving into the ground.

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