Two pilots from France and Spain were on board a mail plane that crashed on its way from Sweden to Norway, the aircraft’s operator has confirmed.
West Atlantic’s CEO’s Gustaf Thureborn told a press conference in Gothenburg “with great sorrow” that the accident had taken place on Thursday night.
“What should not happen and may not happen has happened,” he told reporters.
Two people were on board the aircraft, which was carrying mail for the Norwegian postal service. It was on its way from Norwegian Gardermoen to Tromsø when it sent out a distress signal in Swedish airspace at 11.31pm, Thureborn said.
West Atlantic did not immediately identify the crew but said that the captain was aged 42 and from Spain, and the first officer was aged 34 and from France. Between them they had logged more than 6,000 flight hours.
The company said it had not yet been established whether or not the staff had died in the crash.
A Norwegian F16 plane located the wreckage on the ground between the north-western edge of Swedish lake Akkajaure and the Norwegian border, in an area often known as the Swedish alps.
Thureborn told reporters he had been woken up by a phone call two minutes after the airline was alerted about the crash and was at the office 15 minutes later.
Police and mountain rescue teams were still on their way to the scene amid sub-freezing temperarures at 11am.
“The terrain is mountainous and it’s -30C, so it’s going to take a while before we get there,” police spokesperson Maria Jakobsson told the TT newswire earlier in the morning.
“They sent a very brief ‘mayday’ and then the plane disappeared from our radar. (…) The weather conditions weren’t harsh,” Daniel Lindblad, Swedish Maritime Administration press officer, also told TT.
“The crash site is very clear. Its total diameter is about 50 metres and there are no large parts but only small fragments left of the aircraft,” he added.
The plane, of the model Bombardier CRJ-200, is registered in Sweden, but travels between Norwegian destinations. It was manufactured in 1993.
Thureborn told reporters that all of the company’s planes of the same model had been grounded as a precaution.
“In light of the ongoing investigation we can’t give you more information about what has happened, but we’ll have to await its results. We’re happy to offer more information as soon as we have it,” he added.
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The jet, which had taken off from Oslo just an hour earlier, went down in a remote, mountainous area between the Nordic countries in the middle of the night.
Rescuers were still trying to access to crash site Friday morning after which had been seen by passing. Everyone on board the CRJ-200 aicraft is feared dead.
The flight, a cargo plane carrying post, was travelling to the northern city of Trosmo.
It was operated by Swedish firm West Atlantic. Two people – the 42-year-old captain and a 34-year-old first officer – were on board at the time.
The airline says both crew members were experience fliers, with more than 3,000 hours experience on the CRJ-200 between them.
According to tracking service FlightRadar24, the plane’s last signal showed it at 33,000ft just after midnight local time.
The Canadair CRJ 200 had caused alarm after not making contact since it sent out the distress signal between Norway’s Lake Akkajaure and the Swedish Lapland Mountains.
The wreckage was first spotted by a Norwegian F-16 reconnaisance jet at around 3am.
Rescuers said frigid conditions and high winds have stopped them reaching the site easily.
Two Europeans are believed to have been on board the Swedish registered postal flight, which was travelling to Tromso, Norway.
Early reports in Sweden suggested the flight had taken off from Heathrow, but these were corrected by the airline.