Four American soldiers were killed in a plane crash during a NATO exercise unrelated to the war in Ukraine, the Norwegian prime minister said on Saturday.
Jonas Gahr Støre tweeted that they were killed in Friday night’s crash. The cause was under investigation.
“The soldiers took part in NATO’s Cold Response exercise,” he said. “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 Bodø, where he was due to land just before 6 p.m. Friday. The plane crashed at Gråtådalen in Beiarn, south of Bodø. 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.
The annual NATO exercises in Norway have nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. This year they included about 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.”