The Norwegian cargo airplane that went missing 1355 zulu time is still not found. According to the news at 2000 zulu time, the faint radio signal that should have been picked up by a Danish SAR EH-101 helicopter is not confirmed.
This cargo airplane is extremely sturdy. I have flown with the old C130. The plane missing is brand new. It has a Go-Around-Autopilot with Auto-Throttle, which enables the plane to take immediate control and climb if it inadvertently is steered towards the ground. That makes this all the more puzzling, and a heavy rotor turbulence associated with Lee Wave in between the mountains could maybe be an explanation, but this is a mere speculation for my part.
In any case, I hope and pray the crew has made it, but time is critical for survivors. It is freezing in the snowy winter mountains.
In relation to my previous post – crew of five missing – news update at 1830 zulu time was that a Danish SAR helicopter has picked up a faint radio signal, most likely from the emergency positioning radio beacon from the missing airplane just across the border on the Swedish side. The signal was picked up near Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden (2,106 meters). As the picture illustrates, the Kebnekaise mountain region is on a clear day extreme terrain. And right now it is night and extremely low visibility according to a Swedish reporter in the area.
There has been a lot of activity in the air around Narvik. Several heavy aircrafts have been buzzing up in the clouds. Nothing unusual, like I wrote yesterday, there is a huge military exercise in Northern-Norway these days. An hour ago the Sea King (Search And Rescue helicopter, Royal Norwegian Air Force) landed for refueling at Narvik Airport, Framnes. Furthermore, shortly after two Bell 412 helicopters flew by. All flying in the same direction.
Just now the news reports that a Norwegian Hercules C130J cargo airplane has been lost in the mountains between Norway and Sweden. The plane had a crew of 5 and was en route from Evenes in Norway to Kiruna in the Swedish mountains when it went missing. There is really low visibility in the mountains right now. Really sad.
These days 16,300 troops from 14 nations are battling the cold climate of Northern-Norway in the biggest joint military exercise in ten years Operation Cold Response (well, the name says it all).
But they are battling a real, and very dangerous enemy. The 5. March 1986 a platoon of Engineers was working on a route for belt-vehicles through the Valley of Vassdalen. An avalanche started high in one of the mountain sides and came thundering down towards the soldiers.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My uncle – a police officer – was flown in with his service dog Arco, a highly trained avalanche rescue dog. They were in the middle of an exercise in Saltfjellet mountain region when the call came in. All day long an endless chain of hueys – Bell UH-1 – helicopters came from the valley, landed on the airport here, and then flew in again. After having spent several days without sleep, my uncle finally got som R&R.
I met him at the local police-station. Arco, his German Shepherd police dog just lay there, totally exhausted and my uncle was very worn. His face said it all. Digging all those victims out of the snow and seeing what terrible destiny had struck them down had, set a lifelong mark in my uncle. 16 soldiers were killed in that accident. The heaviest loss of Norwegian military personnel in peace-time.
And right now, 32,600 feet are really walking on eggshells. The Avalanche Warning is currently at its highest! Lots and lots of snow, combined with periods of mild weather earlier this month, and heavy winds, has set the scene for many new avalanches in the days to come. So I cross my fingers that the guys and girls out there tread lightly and stay away from the danger-areas. I am crossing my fingers that all the 32,600 coming into the area also will exit the area, unskaved, every last one of them.