A Facebook user's dashcam filmed the last seconds and crash of a small plane that went down in Luqa, Malta, on the morning of Oct. 24 (video below).
Laurent Azzopardi posted his dashcam video on Facebook with the caption: "On my way to the work this morning - a very shocking experience, a plane crash (very close)."
In the video, the plane is seen struggling to stay airborne, and then heading down before an explosion is seen in the right corner of the video, notes RT
Another video (below) filmed by Edward Degaetano, a passenger on another plane, shows the burning crash scene on a runway at the Malta International Airport.
Five people were killed on the plane, which was part of a French surveillance operation that was flying to Libya, The Times of Malta reports. The plane and its crew were based on the Mediterranean island.
The Fairchild Metroliner Mark III plane reportedly crashed soon after taking off at about 7:20 a.m. The plane was apparently trying to make it back to the airport.
An eyewitness told the news site that plane suddenly tipped to its right side, and "went straight down into the ground" where it burst into flames.
The French government and witnesses said there was no explosion before the plane hit the runway, which may rule out a bomb.
The airport was shut down for a few hours, but later reopened.
According to unidentified sources, the U.S.-built and registered plane was leased to CAE Aviation, a Canadian company that calls itself a "European leader in intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance services."
The French government said in a statement the plane was part of an operation that "had been taking place for the past five months," and was tracking routes "of all sorts, including human and drug trafficking."
"The ... flight was registered with Malta Air Traffic Services as a local flight and was to return to Malta within hours without landing in third countries," the government said.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French daily Le Monde that three of people on the flight were Defense Ministry officials, and two were CAE Aviation employees.
"It’s difficult to say what caused the crash until an investigation is carried out," an unidentified aviation expert told the Times of Malta. "But in the footage the plane nose dives -- that means it didn’t stall."
"It wouldn’t be the first time a pilot has lost control due to health -- that’s why we have two pilots on large commercial flights," the expert added.