“It is with great sadness that we receive the news of the death of four American soldiers in a plane crash last night,” Jonas Kare Store said on his official Twitter account.
“The soldiers took part in NATO’s cold retaliation. Our deepest condolences to the soldiers’ families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their ranks,” he added.
The MV-22B Osprey aircraft, assigned to the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Division of the U.S. Army, was with a crew of four “on a training mission in the Norwegian county of northern Norway on Friday,” the Norwegian Armed Forces said.
The plane was spotted from a rescue helicopter and appeared to have crashed in the municipality of Bourne, Norland Police Chief Bent Arne Eilterson told NRK, a public broadcaster, on Saturday. Alertson said there was “major damage” to the craft.
“What we were told was that it was an American flight with the Americans,” Alertson added.
The U.S. Marine Corps said four Marines were involved in an MV-22B Osprey crash during a training mission in Norway on Friday, but their status or their identities remain pending without being reported to their families.
“While the nature of military service is inherently dangerous, the safety of our Marines, sailors, allies and partners is our number one priority. Our hearts go out to the families affected by these events. This incident is currently being investigated by both Norway and the United States,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.
“Norwegian civil authorities have been at the forefront of the search and rescue efforts, and we are grateful for their professional commitment to our lasting relationship. We are very grateful for the support of the Norwegian Armed Forces and allies and partners who responded first. Assets and people in the current efforts,” the statement said.
“This year’s training was announced eight months ago,” the NATO base said. “It has nothing to do with Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.
If the weather is bad, search crews will have to access the site via land, and rescue workers will have to use snowmobiles to get to the scene, Alertson said.
“Rainfall, avalanche risk, wind and darkness demand such a rescue operation,” Alertson said.
The Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) said in a statement that the plane went missing at 6:26 pm local time on Friday en route to the city of Bodo, north of the Arctic Circle.
The last known location of the plane was Saltfzellet, a mountainous area in Norland County, the report added.
The Norwegian Security Commission and the National Criminal Investigation Service will arrive in Bodo on Saturday to begin an investigation at the city’s airport.
Due to bad weather, they will mostly go to the crash site on Sunday, the NRK said.
CNN’s Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.