Black box from Hercules plane crash found

The mystery surrounding the Norwegian Hercules plane which crashed into Kebnekaise may be nearing a solution, as the Swedish Army’s ranger battalion has found one of the plane’s two black boxes.

Black box from Hercules plane crash found

“I saw something orange peeking up from the snow,” said army captain Carl-Johan Olofsson to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The Hercules military plane crashed straight into Sweden’s highest peak Kebnekaise during an exercise this spring, and all five of the Norwegian officers on board were killed.

Why the plane crashed has so far been a mystery.

Now the black box which contains a recording of everything said inside the cock pit has been found, the result of a week’s intensive searching by the army’s ranger battalion, the police and the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority (Statens haverikommission).

“When I dug it up I immediately saw that we’d found the right thing, as ‘voice recorder’ is written on the unit,” said Olofsson.

The find may finally be able to solve the puzzle.

“It’s fantastic that they’ve found it. If the information is legible, which it probably is, we’ll be able to obtain fundamental information. We may even receive the explanation for the crash,” said flight safety expert Hans Kjäll to Aftonbladet.

The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority has previously said that the black boxes, once found, are to be sent to Britain for analysis.

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Tourists to get more help in Swedish mountains

Mountain safety for tourists is set to improve in Sweden, with authorities introducing more signposting and guides in English as rising numbers of foreigners head for the hills.

Tourists to get more help in Swedish mountains
Hikers in northern Sweden. Photo: Fjällsäkerhetsrådet

Around 800,000 people are expected to visit Sweden's mountain areas this season, with up to 20 percent coming from abroad, according to the Mountain Safety Council of Sweden (Fjällsäkerhetsrådet).

Dutch followed by German travellers are set to make up the majority of foreign visitors.

The Mountain Safety Council of Sweden says it is increasing the amount of mountain safety information in English as a result of the influx of travellers.

All shelters in Sweden are set to get guidelines in the global language and will be provided with journals so that visitors can record their names and next planned destinations, to help authorities keep track of tourists who end up getting lost.

Mountain safety officials say the advice for backpackers will include advice on handling the long distances, colder climate and poor cell phone reception that can characterize expeditions in Sweden, where snow remains on the ground in some areas during July and August.

A hike in northern Sweden can include snow even during summer. Photo: Fjällsäkerhetsrådet

READ ALSO: Top five tips for climbing Sweden's Kebnekaise

“Visitors have to be able to choose suitable equipment, the right things to wear and not pack their bags too heavily,” Per-Olov Wikberg, coordinator at the Mountain Safety Council of Sweden tells The Local.

“They also need proper weather forecasts available in English and correct directions in order to follow the tracks…then they’ll be perfectly fine,” he adds.

According to Wikberg, the most popular summer activities in Sweden's mountainous regions include hiking along the Kungsleden track in the far north of the country, biking, and kayaking. Both camping and staying in the area's small hotels are popular.

“I believe people come here to explore the nature that you can’t find in most other parts of Europe,” he says.

“Apart from for example Sweden’s highest peak Kebnekaise, it’s the vastness of the land, peace and quiet as well as the differently challenging tracks that appeal to many.”

Some of the most popular summer hotspots in the mountains include Fulufjället next to eastern Norway, Sånfjället in mid-Sweden, Sarek in the far north and the area around Åre, which is also the country's biggest ski resort in winter.

Research by Elin Jönsson