Five killed in Norwegian military plane crash
STOCKHOLM A RESCUE operation for the five-strong crew of a Norwegian Hercules military aircraft that disappeared earlier this week has been called off after human remains were found on Saturday, Swedish authorities said.
The search and rescue operation was stopped after consultations with Norwegian authorities and the families of the crew. Efforts would instead centre on finding and identifying remains, and the cause of the accident, police spokesman Borje Ohman said.
“The view is that there were no survivors and the operation has now gone into a new phase,” Ohman told Swedish television SVT. The C-130 J Hercules plane had a crew of four men and a woman.
“It is with great regret that we now conclude that we have lost five good colleagues,” General Harald Sunde, head of the Norwegian defence forces, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The plane that went missing on Thursday hit the western part of the Kebnekaise massif, which forms Sweden’s highest mountain, Norwegian Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide said in Oslo.
“We know that there has been a serious plane crash,” Eide said, noting that debris had been spread over a large area.
A theory was that the plane had exploded after crashing into the mountain, Ohman said, saying an avalanche had been triggered in the area where wreckage and human remains were found.
Search efforts have been hampered by poor weather but conditions improved early Saturday when the first debris was found.
The winds had dropped but it snowed intermittently.
Four avalanches were reported overnight in the search area, adding to the challenges facing the rescue workers. Helicopters and other aircraft were also deployed in the search. All-terrain carriers and snowmobiles were used as there are no roads in the area.
The plane was taking part in the Cold Response military exercise hosted by Norway.
Forces from Britain, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States were among the participants.
A memorial was planned to be held on Sunday.