The US Osprey has been lifted out

Today, Tuesday September 27th, the US Osprey was lifted out of the nature reserve on the south end of Senja in Northern Norway. The aircraft performed a controlled emergency landing in the nature reserve in early August.

The demanding work to retrieve the Osprey has been carried out by the Norwegian Armed Forces in collaboration with US Armed Forces, and several civilian actors.

- The Osprey is now safely on the crane boat and is being transported to the closest NATO port. It has been both exciting and challenging, says Senior Master Sergeant, Odd Helge Wang from the Maritime Helicopter Wing in Bardufoss. He has led the work on site.

- The plane was too far from the water's edge to be lifted directly out with the crane boat. Together with soldiers from the Engineer Battalion, we have built a ramp out of wood materials, and then towed the plane down to the sea. High seas have postponed the lift a couple of times, but today the conditions were perfect, says Wang.

Photo courtesy: Trygve Hongset / Norwegian Armed Forces


See below for previous updates.

Update 26 September:

The Osprey was to be lifted onto the crane boat yesterday. Due to waves of approximately 2 meters, we had to delay. The weather forecast is better from tomorrow on and for the next couple of days. We are on standby, ready to seize the opportunity.

Update 20 September:

The preperations are going as they should, and the Norwegian Armed Forces Salvage Battalion has moved the Osprey around 17 metres up onto the makeshift path made by the Norwegian Army's Engineer Battalion.

The makeshift path is nearing completion, as several sacks of gravel has been placed by the rock and the wooden mats placed on top of it.

The lift was supposed to happen on Monday and Tuesday this week, but bad weather is causing the work to be delayed. We now hope to finish on Sunday.

It´s not the weather at Senja that is the cause. The crane barge that will lift the Osprey on board is delayed due to bad weather in the western part of Norway.

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Update 15 September:

The Norwegian and US soldiers are still working tirelessly, and the path towards the sea continues to be built and improved where necessary. The wooden mats have been laid all the way to the water, where work is being done to build up the path with gravel. All the fuel has been emptied out of the Osprey, so that it´s lighter and easier to move. 

All of the materials has been emptied from the barge and it left back to Sørreisa yesterday to collect more material, wooden mats and sacks of gravel.

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Update 14 September:

Busy days ahead, but we are making good progress. The equipment that arrived in Senja last night has been lifted off of the barge and onto land using the small crane barge “Frøy”.

The work on makeshift path that will bring the Osprey closer to shore has begun. Parts of the path have been built by laying down the wooden mats towards the helicopter and out towards the sea. The Osprey has been jacked up, and the wheels dug out of the ground.

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Update 13 September:

Preparations for the recovery are ongoing. This week, soldiers from the Norwegian Army Engineer Battalion are building the improvised road. If weather and wind permit it, the lift will take place early next week. From there the Osprey will be transported on a crane boat to a maintenance facility at a NATO port in Norway.

On Monday September 12th, at the NATO port in Sørreisa, equipment and materials were readied for transport and loaded onto a barge. The equipment included an excavator, crane, small bobcat and wooden mats. The trip from Sørreisa to Senja took approximately five hours. The personnel at Stongodden went over the plan and security regarding the mission.

The crane barge “Frøy” was transported by tug and arrived in Senja Monday evening.

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General information:

The reserve is located on the southern tip of Senja in Troms and Finnmark, the northernmost county in Norway.

The Norwegian Armed Forces, together with the Environmental Protection Office at the County Governor’s Office has developed plans to recover the Osprey from the nature reserve, in dialogue with the US Air Force.

In short, the plans involve lifting the aircraft with a crane boat. To make this possible, the aircraft must be moved a little closer to the shore. Therefore, we plan to build a small road out of wooden materials to ensure as little harm to nature as possible.

The weather and the wind in Norway, especially at this time of the year, can change quite quickly, and it is an important factor to consider.

Contact information:

For questions regarding the recovery, please contact the Communications/Public Affairs Office in the Royal Norwegian Air Force at: luft.info@mil.no

Pictures free for use (with credit) can be found here