5 dead in plane crash in Malta

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Malta’s government says the small plane that crashed in a fireball soon after takeoff, killing all five crew members aboard, had been heading to Libya’s coast to monitor migrant trafficking routes for the French government.

The twin-prop Fairchild Metroliner exploded into a huge ball of flame and smoke shortly after takeoff Monday morning.

A statement from the Maltese government said all five victims were French. It said the flight was part of a French Customs surveillance operation tracing routes of illicit trafficking of all sorts, including human- and drug trafficking.

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