Five French military officers were killed when a twin-prop Fairchild Metroliner, part of French customs surveillance operation heading for Libyan coast crashed in Safi after developing engine trouble immediately after it took to air from Malta’s international airport.
Witnesses on site of the rescue described the scene as a pile of charred, black metal parts, owing to the scale of the explosion that ensued as the aircraft, a Fairchild Metroliner MkIII, crashed into the ground, Malta Today reported Monday.
The Maltese government has confirmed that the flight was part of a French Customs surveillance operation, which has been taking place for the past five months and tasked with tracing routes of illicit trafficking of all sorts, including human trafficking and drug trafficking.
The remains of all five French nationals have been found.
The government said that information, footage and eyewitness accounts included those of three Armed Forces of Malta personnel at the nearby Safi barracks and two commercial airline pilots, clearly indicated there was no explosion prior to impact.
Military sources were quoted by the news daily as saying that the small aircraft was departing to head to Misrata in north-western Libya, on an anti-human trafficking mission. But the EU border agency Frontex confirmed that the plane was not one of its aircraft and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said the officials were not part of an EU mission. It would appear that the plane is regularly leased out to EU and United States military personnel in Malta.
The Fairchild Metroliner, registration number N577MX, was registered to Canada-based CAE Aviation, a major civil and defence contractor offering aircraft simulation and training to civilian clients as well as many defence and security agencies, including all US services.
The Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner (later Fairchild Aerospace Metro) is a 19-seat, pressurised, twin-turboprop airliner first produced by Swearingen Aircraft and later by Fairchild. This type of aircraft has been involved in 22 other crash incidents, the one before the Malta accident being on 2 June, 2014 when a Aeronaves TSM Fairchild (Swearingen) SA226TC Metro II, registration XA-UKP, crashed shortly after take-off from Querétaro international airport, Querétaro State, Mexico.
A Pakistani Air Force pilot was killed as the Mirage aircraft he was in crashed near Karachis Musharraf colony. PAF Mirage jetbearing tale number 921 took off from Masroor Base, before it crashed near Musharraf Colony
Israel has lost its front line F-16I fighter on Wednesday and the pilot died following a strike mission in Gaza. The pilot and navigator were returning to their home base southwest of Beersheba around 5 p
South Korea has suspended operation of its Lynx military helicopters fleet after one of them crashed into the East Sea. The helicopter crashed around 9:05 PM during a joint night-time drill by South Korea and US
A US Marine Corps AV-8 Harrier fighter jet crashed into the ocean off the coast of southwestern Okinawa in Japan Thursday. The pilot of the crashed aircraft ejected safely and was rescued
A MiG-21 fighter jet from General Khalifa Haftar's east Libyan militants has been shot down during bombing raid on Derna, a port city of the country. Apart from that two of its crews have been detained
Libya is gearing up to implement the contracts with Russia on arms supplies signed under former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Russia agreed to assist the local authorities in the east of Libya in combating terrorism, Libyas House of Representatives Chairman Aguila Saleh Issa was quoted as saying by
The Eastern Libyan commanders of Operation Dignity forces, Khalifa Haftar has signed a $2 billion arms deal with Russian government despite sanctions from the United Nations. Al-Ghoul told Al-Arab on Monday that the visit of Haftar to the Russian aircraft carrier off Tobruk port saw the two parties signing a deal that would allow Haftar to reactivate the contracts of the former Libyan army of Muamar Gaddafi with Russia,
A MiG-23 fighter jet flown by forces loyal to Libyan government was shot down as it carried out raids on jihadist positions over Benghazi. This is the second fighter jet to go down in the past week
Japan’s First KC-46A Aerial Refueling Tanker Assembly Begins
Iranian Drone Display at Russian Airshow May Hold Clue to Attack on...
India Test-fires Astra BVR Air-to-Air missile from Su-30MKI Jet
Rheinmetall to Begin Delivery of 211 Boxer Vehicles to Australia
Israel to Modernise Ukrainian MiG-29 Jets for $440M
MiG-35 Shows Off New AESA Radar at MAKS 2019
Su-57’s Technology predecessor, the Su-47 ‘Berkut’ Displayed at MAKS 2019
Russia Unveils its Biggest Ever Drone to Compete with US Global Hawk
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the defence industry to aid and improve human decision-making
Upgrade of Russias Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the more powerful Su-35...
US companies sanctioned by China for supplying weapons to Taiwan may be denied rare earth elements (REEs), which have critical...
While the US F-35 stealth aircraft has become one the fastest selling fighter jets in the world aircraft market, thanks...
Russian state-run Almaz-Antey has released additional data on its latest export-version of Buk-M3 Viking air defense missile system (ADMS)
The MiG-29, one of Russias most exported military jet has been upgraded in India that expands its capabilities from an...