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Could the members of the 1897 Andrée balloon expedition have survived?

  • Björn Lantz (a1)
Abstract

After making a final landing with their hydrogen balloon on the Arctic pack ice on 14 July 1897 at 82°56′N 29°52′E, expedition members Salomon August Andrée, Nils Strindberg and Knut Frænkel began a slow march with very heavily laden sledges over the ice to try to reach a depot at Cape Flora. Two fundamental errors regarding where to go and what to bring sealed their fate. This note will explore the theory that, given the information they had at the time, the explorers should not have made these mistakes. In fact, the expedition members could have survived if they had instead travelled directly to their other depot at Seven Islands with more lightly laden sledges.

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Andrée, S. A., Strindberg, N., & Frænkel, K. (1978). Med örnen mot polen. Uddevalla: Niloe. (Published in English as The Andrée diaries: Being the diaries and records of S.A. Andrée.)
Bergslien, K. (1893). Kart over Fridtjof Nansen’s polar expedition. Kristiania: Cammermeyer’s Boghandel.
Capelotti, P. J. (2013). Shipwreck at Cape Flora. Calgary: University of Calgary Press.
Halsey, L. G., & Stroud, M. A. (2011). Could Scott have survived with today’s physiological knowledge? Current Biology, 21(12), R457R461.
Huntford, R. (1997). Nansen. London: Abacus.
, J. M. W. (1931). The Andrée diaries. Polar Record, 1(1), 3133.
Kwok, R., Spreen, G., & Pang, S. (2013). Arctic sea ice circulation and drift speed: decadal trends and ocean currents. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 118(5), 24082425.
Nansen, F. (1897). Farthest north. Whitehall Gardens: Archibald Constable.
Nansen, F. (1902). The Norwegian North Polar Expedition 1893–1896: scientific results. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
Uusma, B. (2013). Expeditionen: min kärlekshistoria. Stockholm: Norstedts. (Published in English as The expedition: the forgotten story of a polar tragedy.)
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Polar Record
  • ISSN: 0032-2474
  • EISSN: 1475-3057
  • URL: /core/journals/polar-record
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