2012 Norwegian C-130 crash

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Royal Norwegian Air Force Lockheed C-130J Hercules Lofting.jpg
A similar C-130J "Super Hercules" of the Royal Norwegian Air Force. (2010).
Accident summary
Date 15 March 2012
Summary Controlled flight into terrain caused by pilot and ATC errors
Site Mount Kebnekaise, Lapland, Sweden
Passengers 1
Crew 4
Fatalities 5
Injuries (non-fatal) 0
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules
Operator Royal Norwegian Air Force
Registration 5630
Flight origin Harstad, Norway
Destination Kiruna, Sweden
Kebnekaise mountain range is located in Norrbotten
Kebnekaise mountain range
Kebnekaise mountain range
Location in northern Sweden

A Royal Norwegian Air Force (Norwegian: Luftforsvaret) Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft crashed into the western wall of Mount Kebnekaise on 15 March 2012. The aircraft disappeared from radar over the Kebnekaise mountain range near Kiruna in Sweden.[1][2] All five on board were killed.[3]


The aircraft involved was a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules as 5630 (USAF serial no: 10-5630, c/n: 382-5630), a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. It was the last of four such planes acquired by the Norwegian military between 2008 and 2010 and was named "Siv".[4]

The commander, 42 year old Ståle Garberg, had 6229 flight hours, while the first officer, 46 year old Truls Audun Ørpen, had 3286 flight hours. Both were considered to be experienced airmen.


The plane left Evenes Airport at 13:40 and was scheduled to arrive at Kiruna Airport at 14:30.[1] The aircraft was participating in the "Cold Response" military exercise, which also involved forces from Germany, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. The aircraft appeared to have flown straight onto the edge[5] of the western wall of Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain.[2][6] According to a police spokesperson, the aircraft probably exploded after crashing, setting off an avalanche. Human remains were found in the avalanche area.[3]

The radar plots show the aircraft maintained a straight course over the last 50 km of the flight until impact, in line with the planned route. The plots did not indicate tactical low-level flying, although that was an optional plan for part of the route if weather conditions allowed. Just prior to the crash, Swedish air traffic controllers at Kiruna cleared the Hercules to descend to 7,000 feet (2,134 meters). This altitude is just 20 meters above the height of the top of the Kebnekaise mountain.[7] The altitudes for the continuous radar plots remain in the possession of the accident investigation board and have not been released.[8]


  • 13:40 The Norwegian Hercules plane takes off from Evenes in northern Norway, destination Kiruna, Sweden.
  • 14:43 Radio contact with the plane.
  • 14:5x The Kiruna Airport control tower had radio contact with the plane shortly before the last radar observation. The exact time and details or transcripts of this conversation have yet to be published.[9]
  • 14:56 Last radar observation of the aircraft just west of the 6950 feet high Kebnekaise mountain peaks, by civilian radar (Kiruna, distance 75 kilometres (47 mi)) at 7200 feet. Military radar at Sørreisa (distance 130 kilometres (81 mi)) registered last altitude at 7600 feet at about the same time.[10]


Following the accident, a search effort led by Swedish rescue service was launched, but was hampered by snow, wind and cloud cover, impeding helicopter reconnaissance. Around 4 pm Central European Time on 16 March, a Norwegian P-3 Orion aircraft participating in the search spotted an orange or red object on the ground in the Kebnekaise mountain range.[11][12] Danish helicopters attempted to locate and identify the object, but due to the weather conditions, the search was called off before any finds were made. Later thousands of pieces of wreckage and debris were located at the site identified by the Orion aircraft.[13] Some of the parts showed burn marks and smelled of kerosene. Footage recorded by the Orion plane showed what appeared to be soot and ashes spread over the side of the mountain.[14] Through the use of search dogs, human remains were discovered and relocated for DNA testing,[15] and subsequently on 17 March the search for survivors was called off since it was believed that all five people on board had been killed and the aircraft destroyed.[6][16][17] Efforts were refocused on an accident investigation.

The ongoing investigation is headed by the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority with participation of the Norwegian Accident Investigation Board.[18] The aircraft is considered to have been completely destroyed by the impact and the following explosion, and on 22 March work began on moving debris from the temporary investigative base in Nikkaluokta near the crash site to an aircraft hangar at Kiruna Airport, but efforts were still being hampered by adverse weather and the discovery of further cracks in the glacier on which the debris is located.[19][20] In August 2012 both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder were found[21][22] and flown to the United Kingdom where experts at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are aiding local authorities in salvaging data from the two recorders[23] as Sweden does not have the expertise to handle flight recorders as damaged as the ones found in the wreckage. By 3 October 2012 NRK reported that data from the flight recorders had been successfully downloaded, and preliminary results have indicated that the terrain warning system was set for landing, so no warning was given before impact.[24]

The accident report was repeatedly delayed,[25][26] but was released by the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority (Statens haverikommission) on 22 October 2013[27] stating:

The accident was caused by the crew on HAZE 01 not noticing the shortcomings in the clearances issued by the air traffic controllers and to the risks of following these clearances, which resulted in the aircraft coming to leave controlled airspace and be flown at an altitude that was lower than the surrounding terrain


A total of five people (a crew of four plus an extra officer) were aboard the aircraft when it crashed. All of them were Royal Norwegian Air Force officers and "among the most experienced" in the Norwegian military, according to the head of the Norwegian Armed Forces.[28] The names of the missing were released by the military on 16 March 2012.[29][30]


  1. ^ a b Rune Thomas Ege; et al. (15 March 2012). "Fly sporløst borte – fem nordmenn savnet". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Atle Jørstad; et al. (15 March 2012). "Her er siste tegn fra flyet". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Body parts found at Hercules crash site". The Local. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Paal Wergeland; Heidi Magnussen (16 March 2012). "Tredje ulykken med det nye Hercules-flyet" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Went almost clear of the mountainside", Teknisk Ukeblad 19 March 2012. Retrieved: 7 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b Karl Ritter (17 March 2012). "Body parts found at plane crash site in Sweden". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 17 March 2012. [dead link]
  7. ^ http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10053225
  8. ^ Andreas Budalen; Gerd Elise Martinsen (19 March 2012). "'Flyet holdt planlagt kurs da det styrtet'" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Hilda Nyfløt; Sigrid Moe (20 March 2012). "Hercules-flyets siste samtale hemmeligstemplet: Snakket med flytårn like før de krasjet". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Audun Beyer-Olsen; et al. (16 March 2012). "Varmesignatur var ikke savnet fly: Redningsleder: 'Urolig for at de kan ha kommet nær fjelltopp'". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Kristian Ervik (16 March 2012). "Overvåkingsfly har gjort funn ved Kebnekaise" (in Norwegian). TV 2. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Rune Thomas Ege; et al. (16 March 2012). "Kan ha funnet deler av ulykkesflyet". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Johannes Børstad; et al. (17 March 2012). "Har funnet et jakkeerme" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Her krasjet Hercules-flyet" (video) (in Norwegian). TV 2. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Vilde Helljesen (17 March 2012). "Svensk politi: Har funnet kroppsdeler" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  16. ^ "Norwegian Hercules plane missing in Sweden". The Local. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Norwegian aeroplane missing in Sweden". Sky News Australia. 16 March 2012. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  18. ^ Kjell Mikalsen & Andreas Budalen (22 March 2012). "Vi kommer til å finne svaret" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "Utredningsarbetet i Kebnekaisemassivet". Swedish Accident Investigation Authority. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  20. ^ "Telemark Battalion cleans on Kebnekaise", Teknisk Ukeblad 6 August 2012. Retrieved: 7 August 2012.
  21. ^ "Voice recorder found", Teknisk Ukeblad 5 August 2012. Retrieved: 7 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Flight data recorder found", Aftenposten 12 August 2012. Retrieved: 12 August 2012.
  23. ^ Marfelt, Birgitte. "Britiske specialister lirker sandheden om norsk flystyrt ud af boksene". Ingeniøren. 
  24. ^ HOLMSTRÖM, MIKAEL (12 December 2012). "Ingen varning före kraschen". Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  25. ^ Budalen, Andreas; Johansen, Adrian Dahl (5 February 2013). "Hercules-rapporten blir utsatt til april". NRK. 
  26. ^ Andersen, Barbro (5 March 2013). "Hercules-rapporten kommer først om noen måneder". NRK. 
  27. ^ "RM 2013_02_e.pdf (English Version)" (PDF). http://www.havkom.se. 22 October 2013.  External link in |website= (help)
  28. ^ "Plane 'smashed' into Sweden's tallest peak". The Local. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  29. ^ Kristine Hellem Aanstad; et al. (15 March 2012). "Navnene på de savnede er offentliggjort". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  30. ^ Kristian Ervik (16 March 2012). "Dette er mannskapet som er savnet etter flystyrten" (in Norwegian). TV 2. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 

Coordinates: 67°54′N 18°31′E / 67.900°N 18.517°E / 67.900; 18.517