LATEST: Norway's military says there are still no confirmed sightings of the crew and Hercules C-130J transport aircraft that disappeared on a flight to Sweden, Thursday.
At 05:07 this morning, the Orion P-3 aircraft crew conducting an all-night search relayed they had picked up a heat signature just south of Kebnekaise that could be the missing, or parts of the missing plane following an all-night search.
Defence force personnel were immediately alerted and sent out to the area, but subsequently reported at 07:40 that they had not found anything at the said position, however. 37 people are involved in the ground-based part of the operation.
A Norwegian Sea King and four Swedish helicopters have also been assisting in the search, but three of the aircraft have now been grounded until the weather improves. Night patrol foot soldiers were hampered by poor visibility and difficult terrain, according to the military.
Yesterday, personnel had thought they had found what could be bits of wreckage. Gothenburg-based Swedish Maritime Administration press spokesperson, Petter Lindqvist, told broadcaster TV4, "information has emerged about three different locations where the reconnaissance aircraft picked up three heat signatures, as well as a position where a ground patrol is said to have found something. We will investigate this further."
Lieutenant Colonel Truls Audun Ørpen (46), Captain Bjørn Yngvar Haug (40), Captain Siw Robertsen (45), 42-year-old Captain Ståle Garberg, and 35-year-old Captain Steinar Utne went missing after air traffic control lost contact with the Hercules C-130J transport plane following its departure from Evenes military base, northern Norway. It was due to arrive at Kiruna in Sweden following participation by military personnel in operation ‘Cold Response’.
“It took off at 13:40 local time and was expected at 14.20, but we lost contact with the plane before it landed. It is a Norwegian Hercules aircraft with Norwegian crew,” Major Ivar Moen, head of information for the military exercise, said to NRK.
The plane was last picked up by radar at 14:53, reportedly 80 kilometres west of Kiruna.
“Final contact with the plane was at 14.30 when it was between Kebnekaise and Kiruna, and had about half an hour to go until it was to land at Kiruna,” Swedish sea and air rescue service’s Jonas Sundin told NRK.
It was thought one of two Merlin helicopters sent by the Danish military had picked up an emergency signal from the Kebnekaise mountain area, but this has not been confirmed. It is not believed the Hercules sent out any distress call prior to its disappearance in bad weather.
Norwegian military press spokesperson Per Rostad declared, “no plane has been found, but there is reason to believe it has crashed.”
The 'Siv' C-130J was named on 17th August 2010 and was the last Hercules to be delivered.
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