Rescue helicopter crashes on Swedish mountain, killing three

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A helicopter trying to rescue two stranded climbers crashed into Sweden's highest mountain and burst into flames Friday, killing all three crew members, police said.

Rescuers found the three bodies at the crash site at an altitude of 6,000 feet on the steep northeastern side of Kebnekaise, which rises 6,966 feet in Sweden's arctic about 700 miles northwest of the capital Stockholm.

The climbers, ages 50 and 80, were rescued a few hours after the crash by a Norwegian helicopter and taken to a research station at the base of the mountain.

''It's difficult to say at this stage what caused the accident,'' police inspector Lennart Landstroem said of the crash. ''Witnesses saw sparks, indicating that the helicopter's rotor blades hit the mountainside and crashed.''

The helicopter, equipped for mountain rescues, crashed as it approached the two climbers, who had been stuck on the snowy mountain since Tuesday because of bad weather.

Police did not release the names of the crew members, but said two of the men were in their 50s and one was in his 40s.


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