A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft crashed in northern Norway on Friday evening. Norwegian officials said early Saturday that all four U.S. Marines on board were killed in the crash.
A statement released from the Norwegian Armed Forces on Saturday morning reported all four U.S. Marines aboard had been killed.
“The police in Nordland County confirmed Saturday morning that the crew of four have died. The four Americans were Marines assigned to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Apart from the crew, there were no other people on board,” the statement said.
Norwegian Chief of Defence, General Eirik Kristoffersen said, “The search and rescue operation found what was an accident site. It has now sadly been confirmed that the crew on board the American aircraft died in the accident. My thoughts go to the crew’s family, friends and colleagues.”
Earlier on Saturday, a statement from II Marine Expeditionary Force provided to American Military News said the four Marines assigned to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary
Force were “currently listed in Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown” after the crash.
Chief of staff of Nordland police, Bent Arne Eilertsen, had told local NRK media outlet late Friday, “We see no signs of life either in or around the plane.”
Rescue efforts at the scene were complete, according to the Norwegian Armed Forces, and despite the fatal accident and worsening weather conditions, the Exercise Cold Response 22 was expected to continue.
The U.S. Marines first confirmed the crash in a statement on Twitter early Friday evening.
“We can confirm an incident has occurred involving a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft. The aircraft was conducting training in Norway as part of Exercise COLD RESPONSE 22 at the time of the incident,” the statement said.
“The cause of the incident is under investigation, and additional details will be provided as available,” the statement added.
The II Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement to American Military News late Friday, “Norwegian civil authorities are leading the search and rescue efforts at this time. We are grateful for their efforts and will assist them in the search and rescue in all manners possible.”
Norway’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) said officials first launched a search when a U.S. Osprey aircraft was reported missing at 6:26 pm local time (1:26 pm EST) south of Bodø. The aircraft was determined to be missing when it missed its expected landing time a half hour prior.
Two rescue helicopters and an Orion aircraft were deployed to search for the Osprey, and at approximately 9:17 pm local time (4:17 pm EST), crews discovered the crashed Osprey.
“Due to the weather conditions, it was not possible to go down to the site,” the statement said, according to a translation.
Rescue crews were deployed to the crash site.
U.S. military personnel and assets are in Norway for Exercise Cold Response 2022, an annual exercise involving 30,000 troops from more than 27 North American and European nations.
The exercise is held annually in March and extends into April, and is intended for allied nations to practice operational capabilities in cold weather land, air, and sea formats.
U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing have been photographed flying “around the clock” during the exercise, according to photos released to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (VMM-261) is based at Marine Corps Air Station New River in New River, N.C.