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[VALLETTA] A light aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from Malta on Monday, killing at least five people on board in the island nation's worst peacetime air accident, airport sources and witnesses said.
Airport officials initially said the plane was believed to be carrying officials from EU border agency Frontex. The organisation put out a statement saying it had not deployed the plane, but stopped short of saying whether its staff were on board.
The crash happened at about 0530 GMT as the plane was heading for Misrata in Libya, airport officials told Reuters.
Television footage showed flames rising from wreckage near the runway, sending thick black smoke into the sky.
All flights to and from Malta International Airport were halted, The Times of Malta said on its website.
There was no immediate details on the identity or nationality of the victims.
The plane, a twin-prop Metroliner, can carry around 10 people.