“The soldiers took part in NATO’s Cold Response exercise,” said Gahr Stoere. “Our deepest condolences go out to the soldiers’ families, loved ones and comrades in their unit.”
The plane was a V-22B Osprey belonging to the US Marine Corps, the Norwegian armed forces said.
“The aircraft had a crew of four and was on a training mission in Nordland County” in northern Norway, a statement said.
He was en route north to Bodoe, where he was due to land just before 6 p.m. Friday. The plane crashed at Graetaedalen in Beiarn, south of Bodoe. Police said a search and rescue mission was launched immediately. At 1.30am on Saturday, police arrived at the scene and confirmed that the crew of four had died.
“We can confirm that an incident has occurred involving a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft,” the US Marines said in a tweet. “The cause of the incident is being investigated and further details will be provided as they become available.”
The annual NATO exercises in Norway have nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. This year they include around 30,000 troops, 220 aircraft and 50 ships from 27 countries. Non-NATO members Finland and Sweden also participate.
The exercises began on March 14 and end on April 1.
No cause was given for the accident, but the Norwegian Armed Forces said Cold Response “will continue as planned, with the measures we need to take due to the weather.”
Police have launched an investigation into the accident and members of the accident commission and police representatives were due to arrive at the crash site on Saturday.
“The weather is very poor in the area to complete work at the scene, but policing will resume as soon as weather conditions allow,” Norland Police District Operations Manager Ivar Bo Nilsson told reporters.
Lt. Gen. Yngve Odlo, head of Norwegian Armed Forces Operational Headquarters, said Cold Response would continue despite the crash.
“At the moment the focus is on ending the rescue operation, taking care of people, then there will be a normal procedure with a causal link,” Odlo said, as quoted by the TV channel. Norwegian public NRK.
The first Cold Response exercise took place in 2006 and the exercises have been conducted a total of eight times over the years. They take place in southeast, central and northern Norway.