Po­lice silent on Luqa plane crash, ex­cept to say that in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

The po­lice have re­mained silent on in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the plane crash which oc­curred on 24 Oc­to­ber in Luqa, ex­cept to say that in­ves­ti­ga­tions and a mag­is­te­rial in­quiry are still on­go­ing.

The plane crash saw five French na­tion­als lose their lives, and spec­u­la­tion re­gard­ing their rea­son for be­ing in Malta quickly spread. The of­fi­cial line, as stated by the Prime Min­is­ter in Par­lia­ment fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, is that the French na­tion­als were in Malta as part of a sur­veil­lance op­er­a­tion oc­cur­ring un­der the French Cus­toms Depart­ment, re­lat­ing to traf­fick­ing routes. He did not, how­ever, say whether they were di­rectly em­ployed by the Cus­toms Depart­ment or were em­ploy­ees of an­other French depart­ment.

Re­cent news re­ports said that a French in­ves­tiga­tive team came to Malta and were on the site of the crash.

This news­room asked the po­lice whether a joint Mal­tese-French in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been launched, who was in charge, whether the in­ves­ti­ga­tors who came to Malta were part of the lo­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, what French depart­ment they were from, and who they were.

The po­lice, in re­sponse to all the above ques­tions, replied: “Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the case, be­sides a mag­is­te­rial In­quiry, are still on­go­ing.”

There was also spec­u­la­tion that the plane was meant to be head­ing to Misurata, Libya, how­ever the Mal­tese Prime Min­is­ter had pre­vi­ously de­nied this, say­ing that there was an­other plane which was head­ing to Misurata, Libya which might have cre­ated the con­fu­sion.

The Prime Min­is­ter also pre­vi­ously ad­dressed the spec­u­la­tion that the plane was be­ing used to spy, say­ing only that it was go­ing to gather in­tel­li­gence, through the French cus­toms depart­ment, to see who the peo­ple traf­fick­ing mi­grants and drugs are, as well as their routes. “The in­for­ma­tion we have is that these were flights that did not land in other coun­tries, and that they were be­ing used to gather the in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing traf­fick­ing.” French news­pa­pers have re­ported, that in­quiries are also on­go­ing in France.

Ac­cord­ing to Le Quo­ti­dien, a news­pa­per based in Lux­em­bourg, CAE Avi­a­tion, the com­pany the plane be­longed to, of­ten pro­vides its ser­vices to French in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, NATO and the EU. It also re­ported that the com­pany’s other planes were grounded and be­ing tested.

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