US Marine Osprey plane missing with 4 on board in Europe

Search and rescue teams in Norway are searching for a missing US MV-22 Osprey aircraft which was taking part in a large NATO military exercise in northern Norway on Friday.

There were four Marines aboard the plane, Norwegian officials said.

“We can confirm that an incident has occurred involving a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft,” U.S. Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger said in a statement. “The aircraft was training in Norway as part of Exercise COLD RESPONSE 22 at the time of the incident.”

Stenger said the incident is still under investigation.

The Second Marine Expeditionary Force later released a statement confirming it was aware of an “incident” with an Osprey assigned to its command.

Currently, 3,000 US Marines in northern Norway are taking part in NATO’s Exercise Cold Response 22, described as one of NATO’s largest exercises since the end of the Cold War. There are 30,000 troops in total taking part in this year’s exercise.

Held every two years, the exercise was planned long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and helps train multinational NATO forces on how to operate in the Arctic.

The Norwegian Armed Forces and the Joint Rescue Coordination Center North Norway issued statements on Friday confirming they were carrying out a search for a missing Osprey plane that had failed to land at its destination.

“The Osprey belongs to the US Marine Corps and is participating in the Norwegian military exercise Cold Response in Norway,” the statement from Forsvaret, the Norwegian armed forces, said. “The aircraft has a crew of four and was on a training mission in Nordland county in northern Norway on Friday March 18, 2022.”

The statement said the Osprey was en route to Bod, where it was due to land just before 6 p.m. local time, and was reported missing at 6:26 p.m. local time, its last known position being south of Bod.

Search and rescue planes have been launched, but weather conditions in the area are described as “difficult and expected to worsen”. An apparent crash site south of Bod was located from the air three hours later.

“Due to weather conditions, it was not possible to enter the site from the air,” the statement from the Norwegian Armed Forces said. “Police and rescue teams are now on their way to the area.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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