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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 233212
Last updated: 14 May 2020
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Date:14-JUL-1897
Time:08:00
Type:balloon
Owner/operator:S.A. Andrées Polarexpedition
Registration: unreg.
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Franz Josef Land -   Arctic Ocean
Phase: Landing
Nature:Survey
Departure airport:Danes Island, Norway
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Salomon August Andrée was a Swedish polar explorer who hypothesised that it could be possible to guide the direction of a balloon using weights and guide ropes, and that such a balloon could be used on an expedition to the North Pole.

With only minimal experience flying a balloon over long distances, and following a failed launch attempt in 1896, Andrée and his two expedition members, Knut Frænkel and Nils Strindberg, launched a hydrogen balloon named "Örnen" on July 11th 1897 from Danes Island in Svalbard, Norway. The design of the "Örnen" balloon and its drag rope steering system had been inadequately tested prior to the expedition. Shortly after launch, the balloon lost most of its guide ropes and the crew was forced to jettison most of its ballast to avoid crashing, turning it from a supposably controllable airship into an ordinary free flight hydrogen balloon. Due to the loss of its guide ropes and ballast the balloon became unstable and reached higher altitudes than intended, at which much of its hydrogen was lost through the holes of the envelope's stitching. The balloon managed to sustain a free flight for over 10 hours during which the crew was forced to jettison its remaining ballast. Eventually the balloon drifted down, continually bumping into the ground for a further 41 hours until it lost its bouyancy due to the envelope being weighted down by icing.

After their forced landing, Andrée, Frænkel and Strindberg broke up their balloon and fashioned makeshift sleds out of it to carry their supplies. They managed to set foot on Kvitøya island in Svalbard on October 6th 1897, over four months after their forced landing, but appear to have succumbed to the conditions some time after October 8th 1897. The remains of the three expedition members, their final camp, and diaries and photographs chronicling their expedition were discovered on August 6th 1930 by the Norwegian Bratvaag Expedition.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9e%27s_Arctic_balloon_expedition
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-andree-balloon-crash-a-photographic-journey-through-to-most-surreal-of-arctic-disasters
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/04/19/the-ice-balloon
Jenaer Volksblatt 23 August 1930


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
24-Feb-2020 19:33 Anon Added
14-May-2020 15:42 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Source, Damage]

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