Four US soldiers have died in a plane crash during a Nato training exercise in Norway, the country’s prime minister has said.

The training exercise was unrelated to the war in Ukraine.

Jonas Gahr Store tweeted that the soldiers were killed in the crash on Friday night.

The cause of the crash is not yet known, but Norwegian police have reported bad weather in the area where the plane went down.

‘The soldiers participated in the Nato exercise Cold Response,’ Mr Gahr Stoere said.

‘Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers’ families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit.’

The aircraft involved in the crash was a V-22B Osprey, belonging to the US Marine Corps, Norway’s armed forces said in a statement.

At the time of the incident, it had been taking part in a Nato training exercise, in Nordland County, northern Norway.

The aircraft was on its way to Bodø, where it was scheduled to land just before 6 pm on Friday, however, it crashed in Gratadalen, Beiarn, to the south of the town.

A search and rescue mission was immediately launched, with rescuers arriving at the crash site at 1:30 am Saturday, police said.

All four members of the crew were pronounced dead at the scene.

The US Marines have confirmed the crash.

‘We can confirm an incident has occurred involving a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft,’ the force said in a tweet.

‘The cause of the incident is under investigation, and additional details will be provided as available.’

Investigators and accident commission members are due to travel to the crash site, weather permitting, later today.

‘The weather is very bad in the area to complete work at the scene, but police will take it up again as soon as the weather conditions allow it,’ Ivar Bo Nilsson, operations manager from Norland police said.

The annual Nato drills in Norway are unrelated to the war in Ukraine.

This year they include around 30,000 troops, 220 aircraft and 50 vessels from 27 countries. Non-NATO members Finland and Sweden are also participating.

The exercises began on March 14 and are due to end on April 1.

Norwegian armed forces have said that Cold Response ‘will carry on as planned, with the measures we have to take due to the weather.’

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