French military plane makes emergency landing in Malta

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A French military surveillance aircraft made an emergency landing in Malta Monday after one of its two engines failed, authorities said.

The Atlantique aircraft landed safely at about 1:30 am (2330 GMT Sunday) amid airport emergency service fire tenders and rescue vehicles which were deployed around the runway.

Rescuers from the Civil Protection Department were also on stand-by at the airport.

The plane was the 13th to land in neutral EU member Malta since operations over Libya started in March.

Four pairs of French air force aircraft, two Danish Air Force F-16s and two US F-16s diverted to Malta for refuelling or following other technical faults.

The Mediterranean island nation has strong contacts with nearby Libya and remains cautious on the conflict but earlier this month it recognised the rebel National Transitional Council as "the sole legitimate interlocutor of the Libyan people".

© 2011 AFP

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