A private jet said to be owned by the billionaire Tory grandee Lord Ashcroft crashed into an office block in Malta after reportedly being blown off a runway by strong winds.
Dramatic images show the Dassault Falcon 7X with its nose buried in the building after it crashed through the perimeter fence at Malta International Airport on Wednesday night (27 December).
There are no reported injuries and the private jet was said to have been unmanned at the time of the incident.
Officials believe strong winds forced the aircraft from its wheel chocks, pushing it into the road before crashing into the building, which is owned by the Polidano Group construction firm. There were no people in the building at the time.
"It seems like it was the result of the strong winds. The building didn't sustain major damage, but we presume the aircraft did," Polidano Group's legal representative Jean Paul Sammut told the Times of Malta.
Malta police and members of the Armed Forces were seen attending to the incident through the night, with roads closed to oncoming traffic.
The plane is registered in Bermuda under Lord Ashcroft's name, the Telegraph reported.
While Lord Ashcroft has not issued a formal statement on the incident, when asked on Twitter if the aircraft belonged to him, he reportedly responded: "Nooooooo..." That tweet has since been deleted.
Lord Ashcroft is the former deputy chairman of the Conservatives and a major party donor. He retired from the House of Lords in 2015, saying he wanted to focus on on his career as a pollster and political publisher.
For years he has attracted controversy over his financial and tax arrangements, including over his status as a non-dom (a person who is not legally domiciled in the country in which they live, meaning they may gain tax advantages through their legal country of residence).
In November, documents handed to the BBC as part of the Paradise Papers leak revealed that the 71-year-old remained domiciled for tax purposes in Belize at a time when it was widely believed he had given up the status.
He was also publicly confronted by a BBC Panorama reporter after leaked documents showed he had been storing tens of millions of pounds in an offshore trust he secretly controlled.