Swedish police called off a rescue operation after searchers on Saturday recovered human remains from the site of a Norwegian military plane crash on a remote peak in Sweden's high north.

All five Norwegian Air Force officers who had been aboard the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport craft before it hit Sweden's highest mountain around midday on Thursday are now presumed dead, a spokesman said.

We have found some body parts and we have made the overall decision that there is no chance to find anyone alive after this accident, said Boerje Oehman, information chief for Sweden's northern police district.

He said the effort by more than 100 would-be rescuers in the air and on the ground would now convert to a smaller-scale operation to investigate the cause of the crash and identify human remains through DNA testing.

The aircraft appears to have been travelling at high speed when it struck the top of Kebnekaise, a double-peaked mountain jutting 2,100 metres (6,890-foot) above sea level.

Parts of the airplane are strewn over a large area, said General Harald Sunde, Norway's armed forces chief.

Heavy snowfall, fierce wind, glacial crevasses and the risk of avalanche hampered rescue teams and delayed discovery of the impact site, which was not officially confirmed until Saturday.

The Hercules, built in 2010, had been en route to Kiruna, Sweden, from Evenes air base in northern Norway when it disappeared on Thursday. It was taking part in Cold Response, an exercise organised by Norway involving over 16,000 military personnel.