Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty
Four U.S. Marines have presumably lost their lives after their MV-22 Osprey Aircraft crashed during a NATO military exercise in Norway on Friday.
On Saturday morning, II Marine Expeditionary Force officials shared an update on the tragedy via its Twitter account.
"4 Marines assigned to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, are listed in Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown following a training incident in support of Exercise Cold Response 2022 on the evening of March 18, 2022," the statement read. They added that "the incident is currently under investigation by both Norwegian and U.S. organizations."
After learning about the accident, Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre also confirmed the news, sharing his condolences via social media.
4 Marines assigned to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, are listed in Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown following a training incident in support of Exercise Cold Response 2022 on the evening of March 18, 2022. pic.twitter.com/ZzYkQL2ZWS
— II MEF (@iimefmarines) March 19, 2022
"It is with great sadness we have received the message that four American soldiers died in a plane crash last night," he tweeted early Saturday. "The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response. Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers' families, relatives, and fellow soldiers in their unit."
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Local authorities reported the incident occurred in the northern part of Norway, in a county called Nordland, per ABC News. Police determined "the crew of 4 were deceased" upon their arrival at the scene, Nordland Chief in Staff Bent Eilertsen said in a statement, according to the outlet.
The search and rescue team began their mission to locate the aircraft after it was reported missing on Friday.
It is with great sadness we have recived the message that four American soldiers died in a plane crash last night. The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response. Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers' families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit.
— Jonas Gahr Støre (@jonasgahrstore) March 19, 2022
The Norwegian armed forces explained in a statement at the time, "it has not been possible to enter the site from air" due to weather conditions.
"It is extreme avalanche danger and heavy rain in the area right now," Eilertsen claimed, per ABC News. "Landslide experts have given the police a strong recommendation not to enter the landslide area."
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Eilertsen told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK on Saturday that the aircraft was discovered from a rescue helicopter, where it appeared to have "major damage" after crashing in the municipality of Beiarn.
"What we have been told is that it is an American plane with Americans on board," he added.
According to a statement from U.S. Marines via its Twitter account, "the aircraft was conducting training in Norway as part of Exercise COLD RESPONSE 22 at the time of the incident."
Lance Cpl Elias E Pimentel III/AP/Shutterstock
The officials from II Marine Expeditionary Force also added in a press release that as a matter of policy, service members' identities will not be released until 24 hours after all "next-of-kin notifications have been completed."
"Though the nature of military service is inherently dangerous, the safety of our Marines, Sailors, Allies, and partners is our top priority," they stated. "Our hearts go out to the families affected by these events."