A member of Norway’s largest flying club was killed Tuesday night when the small aircraft’s pilot, the only person on board, crashed into the side of a mountain in Sør-Aurdal. Rescue efforts were hindered by the steep terrain and difficulty in finding a landing spot for emergency helicopters responding to the crash.
Officials from the national accident investigations board (Statens havarikommisjon for transport) and the police were trying Wednesday morning to determine the cause of the crash. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the pilot, who was not immediately identified, had not sent out any emergency calls.
Remote crash site
Only scattered remains of the aircraft, a single-engine Aquila A211, could be seen at the site where it rammed into the mountainside at full speed. The plane had taken off from the Nedre Romerike flyklubb‘s location at the Kjeller airport just outside Lillestrøm around 6pm Tuesday evening.
At 9:15pm the police operations central for the inland areas of southern Norway received a call that a small plane had crashed into the side of the mountain known as Dyttholknatten in the district of Sør-Aurdal. An air ambulance, police helicopter and rescue helicopter were sent to the scene but were initially unable to reach the wreckage.
The rescue helicopter eventually managed to land and its crew managed to reach the crash site on foot. They reported finding a dead person shortly after 1am Wednesday. There were no reports of any emergency signal being sent from the plane. There are no roads leading to the crash site. The weather at the time of the crash was reported as overcast with no wind or rain.
Aided by witness observations
Witnesses on the ground reported seeing and hearing the plane crash on the still-light summer night, followed by flames. Their observations aided emergency crews in reaching the site. The area is part of two nature preserves in the Vassfaret/Vidalen area on the border between Oppland and Buskerud counties. The crash occurred on the Oppland side of the border.
Thore Nylund, deputy leader of the club, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the aircraft was their newest, delivered to the club last year. Around 200 members of the club had permission to use the plane. The club has six planes and co-owns several historic aircraft as well. “We are very sorry this has happened and our thoughts go to the victim and the victim’s survivors,” Nylund told NRK.