Four U.S. Army Officers killed when aircraft crashes in Norway during NATO exercise

Four American service members were killed on Friday night when a U.S. military aircraft crashed in Norway while taking part in a NATO exercise, the Norwegian prime minister said.

“The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response. Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers’ families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said Saturday morning.

The U.S. Marine Corps aircraft was reported missing Friday while participating in a NATO military exercise, the Norwegian military said earlier.

The U.S. 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, in a statement, did not specify how many people were in the MV-22B Osprey, which is capable of vertical takeoffs and landings and is primarily used to transport troops and equipment in support of amphibious assaults.

Norwegian civilian authorities led search and rescue efforts, the Marines said. The aircraft was assigned to participate in Exercise Cold Response 2022, a “long-planned and regular” routine that Norway hosts every two years, according to the NATO military alliance. Around 30,000 troops from more than 27 NATO countries have gathered to train in Norway’s cold weather.

Norway announced Friday that it would step up defense spending in support of forces near its border with Russia. The Cold Response exercise, which started this month and will last until April, comes on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, although NATO stressed that the exercise was not in response.