1. ITV Report

Five people dead after small plane crashes in Malta

At least five people have been killed in a plane crash in Malta. Credit: @eddydeg

Three French Defence Ministry officials and two private contractors have been killed after a plane crashed shortly after take-off from Malta International Airport.

The crash, Malta's worst peacetime aircraft accident, happened at about 7.20am local time as the plane was heading for Misrata in Libya.

The five men were heading to Libya to monitor people and drugs-smuggling routes for the French government

The airport issued a statement confirming that five people on board the US-registered Fairchild Metroliner, a twin-propeller aircraft, had died.

We can confirm that the five crew on board the aircraft are deceased. Our thoughts are with families of people involved in this accident.

An investigation is currently ongoing and we are working with all the authorities to provide them with any assistance necessary.

– Malta International Airpor

It is understood the plane tilted towards the right and crashed into the ground soon after lifting off, which is when it burst into flames.

Part of the burning wreckage ended up on a road outside the perimeter of the airport.

Actor Edward De Gaetano was on his way home back to London when he witnessed the aftermath of the crash.

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MEP for Malta, Roberta Metsola, also posted updates on Twitter and described the crash as "sad news".