Plane crash in Luqa: Surveillance mission on behalf of French defence ministry

CAE Aviation, the company which operated the Fairchild Merlin III that crashed outside MIA on Monday, confirms that the flight was part of a surveillance mission on behalf of the French ministry of defence • Company says five victims were civilians

The website of CAE Aviation listing the company's services and cross-section of clients
The website of CAE Aviation listing the company's services and cross-section of clients

The two pilots and three specialists aboard the Fairchild Merlin III twin-turboprop aircraft that crashed just outside Malta International Airport on Monday morning, were all civilian employees, according to the company that was operating the reconnaissance flight on behalf of the French Ministry of Defence.

Luxembourg-based CAE Aviation said in a statement that it operated the US-registered aircraft on behalf of the French Ministry of Defence for flights over the Mediterranean.


The Merlin is a variant of the Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner twin-turboprop aircraft, later known as the Fairchild Aerospace Metro.

“It was being flown by an experienced crew with no technical issues reported on previous flights,” the company said.

“At this stage, no cause for the accident can be determined.”

The company said that both pilots and all three task-specialists on board, all French citizens, perished in the accident.

“Their remains have in the mean time been recovered by the local emergency services and their next-of-kin have been notified. The investigation is now in the hands of the respective Civil Aviation Authorities.”

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