Swedes scour mountains for missing Norwegian plane

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 16, 2012 3:28 AM
Swedes scour mountains for missing Norwegian plane

By Walter Gibbs

OSLO (Reuters) - Swedish rescue helicopters and snowmobiles raced to a remote spot the Arctic mountains on Friday, hoping to find a Norwegian military transport aircraft that disappeared in poor weather with five officers on board.

"This morning we have identified a heat signature in the area that may be from the missing plane, and there are military patrols on the ground that are now on the way," said military spokesman Geir Bakke.

The 2010-built Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport craft taking part in a joint exercise never arrived at its destination, Kiruna in Sweden after leaving Evenes air station in northern Norway on Thursday lunchtime.

All five missing officers are Norwegian.

"We are hoping that some of the crew are alive but of course time is running out," said Bakke, adding that temperatures in the search area were -6 to -8 Celsius (18-21 Fahrenheit).

Swedish authorities temporarily halted the search late on Thursday due to heavy snow and high winds. The weather was better on Friday but the risk of avalanches hampered efforts.

(Editing by Ben Harding)