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US aircraft crashes in Norway, 4 dead

Four US soldiers have been killed in a plane crash in a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle during a NATO exercise, Norway’s prime minister says.

Jonas Gahr Stoere tweeted that they were killed in the crash on Friday night local time.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, but Norwegian police have been hampered by poor weather in the area.

“The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response,” Gahr Stoere wrote.

“Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers’ families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit.”

The plane was a V-22B Osprey belonging to the US Marine Corps, Norway’s armed forces said.

“The aircraft had a crew of four and was out on a training mission in Nordland County” in northern Norway, according to a statement.

It was on its way north when it crashed in Graetaedalen in Beiarn, south of the town of Bodoe.

Police said a search and rescue mission was launched immediately.

At 1.30am (11.30am AEDT) on Saturday, the police arrived at the scene and confirmed the crew of four had died.

“We can confirm an incident has occurred involving a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft,” the US Marines said in a tweet.

“The cause of the incident is under investigation.”

The annual NATO drills in Norway are unrelated to the war in Ukraine.

This year they include around 30,000 troops, 220 aircraft and 50 vessels from 27 countries. Non-NATO members Finland and Sweden are also participating.

The exercises began on March 14 and will end on April 1.

Police launched an investigation into the crash and accident commission members and police representatives were due to arrive at the crash site on Saturday.

“The weather is very bad in the area to complete work at the scene, but police will take it up again as soon as the weather conditions allow it,” operations manager Ivar Bo Nilsson from the Norland police district told reporters.

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