The plane crashed into the Falsterbo Canal, outside Vellinge, 16 kilometres south of Malmö. Sweden’s air accident rescue service was alerted by emergency operator SOS Alarm, after a call from a witness at 1:27pm.
The lifesaving operation was called off at 4pm, after it was judged that there was no hope of finding any survivors.
TV4 reported that the plane, a dual-engine Casa-212, was on a routine mission when it crashed on Thursday afternoon. Several boats were in the canal near to the site where the plane crashed, according to reports.
The crash site was just to the north of a bridge over the Falsterbo Canal, according to emergency services. Harry Feinberg, who runs a shop next to the canal, witnessed the accident.
“I’m standing by the shop and I see this plane come flying over the bridge and losing its wing. Then it looked like an injured bird that flapped about before crashing right down into the canal. It looked completely unreal.”
Six divers, working in pairs, located the plane wreck by 2:30pm, six metres below the surface. One of the aircraft’s wings had broken off, according to a witness, but this information could not be confirmed by air accident resuce officials.
“The plane was on a routine patrol,” said Johanna Holmer, spokeswoman for the coastguard. The aircraft had taken off from Ronneby airport in south-eastern Sweden, and had been due to land in Malmö in the south-west.
The area was windy at the time of the crash, with a southerly wind of 10 metres per second blowing.
The plane was reported to have sunk almost immediately. A coastguard boat was in the vicinity. Divers were rushed to the scene, as were air-sea rescue helicopters from both Denmark and Sweden. Three rescue boats were also scrambled.
The body recovered by rescuers was taken for a post-mortem examination in Lund.