Two members of a flying club from Tromsø were killed when their small plane crashed into the sea off Northern Norway’s scenic Lofoten islands Sunday night. The airport at Svolvær remained closed early Monday morning but was due to reopen later in the day.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the weather was clear and there were no strong winds when the small plane crashed just after takeoff at around 8:30pm. Police said the cause of the crash was unknown and officials from the state accidents investigation board Havarikommisjonen were on their way to Svolvær to launch a probe.
The aircraft plunged into the sea off the airport and a rescue operation was launched immediately. The search and rescue vessel Sundt Flyer found wreckage and the plane’s two occupants in the chilly waters within 20 minutes of the crash and brought them to land, where a Sea King rescue helicopter was waiting. NRK reported around midnight that their lives couldn’t be saved.
Yngve Johnsen, leader of the flying club from Tromsø farther to the north, confirmed to NRK that the plane was owned by the club and that both of those killed were members. Their next of kin had been notified of the fatal accident.
Johnsen said the roughly 40 active members of Tromsø flyklubb gathered Sunday night and were deeply affected by the crash. The club was established in 1946 and he said members had experienced a few accidents, but never one that was fatal.
The rescue operation was led by the police in Lofoten and Vesterålen. State investigators will take over responsibility for determining the cause of the crash.