Draped in the national flag, an honor guard carried the coffins from a military transport plane. A priest led a short ceremony for the relatives of the victims on the airport tarmac with King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia and Prime Minister Goran Persson.
It is believed to be the country's largest loss of life in 200 years, with 52 known dead, and another 1,903 missing from the Dec. 26 disaster.
Persson spoke with reporters before the flight arrived, saying the country was now "forced" to get accustomed to the painful experience, Sky News reported.
"Together we will now have to move on with our everyday tasks, which make 2005 just like every other year, though 2005 will be dark and heavy," he said.
Millions of Getty images now available for free via embed tool
Ray Liotta sues skin care company over use of likeness