Two crew members were feared dead Friday after a mail plane crashed in northern Sweden en route to northern Norway, according to an initial survey of the crash site.

A helicopter pilot who flew over the scene said it looked like a bomb crater, Swedish Radio reported, while a spokesman for the Swedish air rescue services said the impact had been "very powerful."

The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority has launched a probe and hoped the flight data recorders could be located to help shed light on the cause of the crash.

The plane - a Bombardier CRJ200 PF - departed late Thursday from the Norwegian capital of Oslo and was bound for Tromso, northern Norway, when it issued a distress signal and disappeared from radar screens around 2320 GMT Thursday.

Helicopters from the Swedish and Norwegian rescue services launched a search and two Norwegian F-16 jet fighters were also deployed.

One of the F-16s detected wreckage in a mountainous area between Lake Akkajaure and the Norwegian border.

The crash scene was on a plateau, but the terrain was difficult to negotiate and teams have to be flown in by helicopter. Temperatures were also around minus 30 degrees Celsius.

The plane was operated by Swedish group West Atlantic for the Norwegian postal services.

The crew members were from Spain and France. The operator said both were experienced.

West Atlantic chief executive Gustaf Thureborn told reporters the company had for the time being grounded its two other Bombardier jets.

He said mail, packages and general freight were screened before loading.

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