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U.S. military aircraft crashes in Norway during exercise, officials say

According to initial reports, four service members were aboard the MV-22 Osprey, a U.S. official said. Their status was not clear.

A U.S. military aircraft that was said to have four service members aboard crashed during a NATO exercise in Norway, officials said Friday.

The Marine MV-22 Osprey went missing during an extreme weather exercise but has since been located. It was not clear what condition it was in, a U.S. military official said.

Weather prevented a helicopter from landing at the crash site, and the condition of those aboard was not clear, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre North Norway said.

Emergency services were working to send a rescue team, the coordination center said.

The Osprey, which is a tilt-rotor aircraft, was taking part in a cold weather exercise and there was bad weather at the time of the incident, the U.S. official said.

MV-22 Ospreys Takeoff
MV-22 Ospreys from VMM-261 “The Raging Bulls” at Harstad Port in Harstad, Norway, on Feb. 19, 2022.Katrina Herrera / U.S. Marine Corps via DVIDS file

The II Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement it was aware of the incident, which is being assessed.

“Norwegian civil authorities are leading the search and rescue efforts at this time,” it said. “We are grateful for their efforts and will assist them ... in all manners possible.”

Norway’s armed forces said Friday that the Osprey was in Nordland County, in the northern part of the country, and it was supposed to land in Bodø at 6 p.m. It was reported missing at around 6:30 p.m., Norway’s military said, and a search mission was launched.

The aircraft was taking part in “Exercise Cold Response 22," the Marines said in a statement.

The military has described it as a Norwegian-led exercise. NATO says it was long-planned and involves thousands of troops from its allies and partners.

The exercise runs from March 14 to April 1, and it is “designed to enhance military capabilities and allied cooperation during a high-intensity warfighting scenario in a challenging Arctic environment with rugged terrain and extreme cold weather,” the Marine Corps said.

While tensions between NATO and Russia are high due to Russia’s attack and invasion against its neighbor Ukraine, NATO says it the exercise is not related and was announced eight months ago.

“It is not linked to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine, which NATO is responding to with preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory measures,” the organization has said.