[IN PICTURES] Wreckage of plane crash that killed five Frenchmen

Transport Malta officials spotted on site the morning after a twin-prop Fairchild Metroliner aircraft crashed shortly after take-off, killing two private contractors and three French defense ministry officials

Forensic experts taking the bodies of the five Frenchmen away (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)
Forensic experts taking the bodies of the five Frenchmen away (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)
Jonathan Joslin, emergency medical care, inspecting the site (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)
Jonathan Joslin, emergency medical care, inspecting the site (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)

An aircraft which the French Ministry of Defense has confirmed was engaged in a surveillance operation crashed in Malta on Monday, killing five men: two private CAE Aviation contractors and three officials of the French secret service DGSE.

The plane crashed soon after take-off, bursting into flames upon impact to the ground (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)
The plane crashed soon after take-off, bursting into flames upon impact to the ground (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)

On Tuesday morning, Transport Malta officials were spotted on site as investigations into the crash continue.

Transport Malta officials were on site Tuesday morning (Photo: Chris Mangion/MaltaToday)
Transport Malta officials were on site Tuesday morning (Photo: Chris Mangion/MaltaToday)

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat yesterday told parliament that “the likelihood” was that the crash was a result of a human error or mechanical failure, although nothing could be excluded before all investigations and inquiries are concluded.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat: 'Likelihood is that crash was caused by human error or mechanical fault' (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat: 'Likelihood is that crash was caused by human error or mechanical fault' (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)

“What we can confirm is that there was no explosion prior to the crash,” he said.

All five bodies were recovered (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)
All five bodies were recovered (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)

The government said that the team had been on a French customs surveillance operation, with the aim of tracing routes of illicit trafficking of all sorts, including human and drug trafficking amongst others.

The bodies belonged to two private contractors and three French defense ministry officials (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)
The bodies belonged to two private contractors and three French defense ministry officials (Photo: Omar Camilleri/DOI)

According to aviation specialist David Cenciotti, the Fairchild SA227-AT is one of two such aircraft. The plane, belonging to Luxembourg-CAE Aviation, was part of a fleet of planes involved in intelligence gathering missions in North Africa.

CAE Aviation also operates a public-private partnership as part of the EUNAVFOR Med.

The plane, belonging to Luxembourg-CAE Aviation, was part of a fleet of planes involved in intelligence gathering missions in North Africa.
The plane, belonging to Luxembourg-CAE Aviation, was part of a fleet of planes involved in intelligence gathering missions in North Africa.
The road is still closed to motorists and pedestrians (Photo: Chris Mangion/MaltaToday)
The road is still closed to motorists and pedestrians (Photo: Chris Mangion/MaltaToday)

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