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Geographers discredit the Siberian tale of the finding of relics of Andree's balloon -- first, because his air-ship could hardly have floated in that direction, and, second, because that part of the country is thickly settled, comparatively, and the aeronaut would have been returned to civilization long ago, had he landed there.
It is highly improbable that we will ever hear any authentic tiding of the missing aeronaut. It was on July 11, 1897, that the balloon Eagle, with Andree, Strindberg and Fraenkel in the car, was cut loose from Dane's island. It rose to a height of about six hundred feet and was visible for an hour. The balloon travelled (sic) at the rate of twenty-two miles an hour.
According to reports Andree was heard from from (sic) Copenhagen Sept. 2. On that date word came that the whaling ship The Falken had found one of Andree's carrier pigeons. Attached to it was a message which read: "July 13, 12:30 p.m., latitude 82.2 north, longitude 12.5 east. Good voyage eastward. All well."
Subsequent reports were received of pigeons being found with messages from Andree, but none of them was confirmed.
Dr. S.A. Andree was a celebrated Swedish aeronaut and the chief engineer of the Stockholm patent office. For twenty years he had planned a voyage of discovery to the North Pole by balloon, and finally obtained the financial support of the Swedish Academy of Science and the kindly interest of King Oscar of Sweden. He made an attempt at a balloon voyage across the Arctic regions in July, 1896, but failed on account of adverse winds and defects in his air-ship.
The distance from Dane's Island to the hypothetical North Pole is about 700 miles, and Andree expected to cover it in thirty to forty hours. He took provisions enough to last the party for three years and was in every way prepared for the emergency of a protracted stay in the Arctic regions. The balloon was 75 feet in height and had a capacity of 72,000 cubit (sic) feet of gas. It carried a sail of 800 square foot of canvas and had other appliances for steering.
Expeditions went from Sweden and Germany to search for Andree, but found no trace of him.
Reproduced with permission: L.L. Dyche, Explorations (Newspaper Clippings Related to Polar Exploration), Vol. 1 & 2. University Archives, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, KS.
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