Everything You Need To Know About The Luqa Plane Crash
A run down of today's tragic events, as they happened.
With so many news reports and updates coming in as the story developed, here's a rundown of exactly what happened in chronological order:
1. Reports of an explosion at the airport come in at 7.20am
It turned out that shortly after taking off, a small plane (Fairchild Metroliner with registration number N577MX) took a nose dive straight into the ground, where it exploded into flames.
2. Twitter user @KenBundall tweets the first image of the crash
3. Flights are delayed and inbound aircraft rerouted
4. Malta's airport turns its social media grey out of respect
5. The initial unofficial death toll of three is raised to four, then five...
6. Shocking dashcam footage shows the exact moments the plane nose-dived and hit the ground
7. International media picks up the story
8. The airport confirms there are no survivors and an investigation into the incident has begun
9. The airport reopens just four hours after the crash
10. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirms that all five crew members were French men
And the government puts out a press release that explained the crew were part of a team from French Customs, working on tracking illegal trafficking (including human and drug trafficking). They also said the flight was never intended for Libya, but was to land back in Malta after its journey.
Flight was registered as local, coming back to #Malta without landing in any third country.— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) October 24, 2016
11. French media reports three of the crew members worked in France's Ministry of Defense
12. Local sources reveal the plane involved in the incident had an "Aborted Takeoff" the week before
The aircraft had undergone repairs a few weeks ago, and this aborted takeoff happened while the plane was in Malta.
13. There are still a lot of unanswered questions
International sources were originally claiming that the flight carried EU officials, but this statement was denied by Federica Mogherini, Vice President of the EU Commission.
Other sources initially cited the plane as being one of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, but they too denied involvement.
The plane that crashed in Malta was not deployed by Frontex.— Frontex (@Frontex) October 24, 2016
Even Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's statement seems to have some holes in it, as the Maltese government claimed the victims worked in the French customs department, the same department who have also confirmed they had no involvement in the incident.
And now, following all this back and forth, some French media sites are even claiming the victims of this morning's crash were in fact spies working with DGSE (France's version of the CIA and MI6).
As people wait for the investigation to shed more light on the incident, our thoughts are with the families of the men who perished. May they rest in peace.