Five feared dead as Norwegian military plane missing

A Norwegian military transport plane with five people on board went missing over Sweden's far north and search and rescue operations were underway, Swedish air rescue services said Thursday.

Defence Minister Espen Barth said five officers had been "lost".

"I learnt with deep sadness that we lost five officers," NTB news agency quoted him as saying.

No official announcement has been made that the plane, its wreckage or passengers and crew had been found.

Air rescue official Matthias Hansson earlier told AFP that a "Norwegian Hercules transport plane en route from Evenes in Norway to Kiruna in Sweden has been reported missing near Kiruna".

The plane last made contact with Kiruna air traffic control around 2:40 pm (1340 GMT) and then disappeared from radar screens, he said.

Bad weather conditions were reported in the area.

Helicopters were sent from Norway, Sweden and Denmark to search for the aircraft.

The Hercules was taking part in a Norwegian-led military exercise dubbed Cold Response 2012, with some 16,000 people joining from 15 countries.

by Laurent Lozano © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Mar 15, 2012