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The Mystery of Andree


Balloonist's Brother Does Not Believe the Report from Siberia.


America's Arctic Explorer Says Investigation Should Quickly Solve the Mystery.

Malmo, Sweden, Feb. 11. -- The brother of Professor Andree, the missing balloonist who attempted to cross the Arctic regions, has informed a local newspaper that he does not believe the report, received by way of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, that the remains of Andree and his companions and the car of the balloon in which he left Danes Island, of the Spitzbergen group, on July 11, 1897, have been found between Kemo and Pit, in the Province of Veniseisk.

He says that locality is cultivated, and that it appears incredible that the corpses and the car of the balloon could have been there a year and a half without having been seen before this. Furthermore, Andree's brother points out, in stormy weather the bodies would almost certainly have been separated from the wreck of the balloon.

The well-known Polar explorer Professor Nathorst has issued an appeal to the Swedish people for funds to equip an expedition to East Greenland during the coming Summer, to search for Professor Andree, and to engage in scientific explorations. The party will consist of twenty-five persons, they will be absent four months, and the cost of the expedition is estimated at 70,000 crowns.

Greely's Talk with Andree

Washington, Feb. 11.-- "If I come back, I will have the greatest reputation of any Arctic explorer; if I never return, I will still have that greatest reputation."

This was the reply of Prof. Andree to General Greely at the international Geographic Congress in London in 1895. Speaking of his meeting with Andree at that cangress (sic), General Greely said to the Journal to-night:

"I had a long talk with him at that time. I had just concluded my remarks on the subject of his contemplated trip, I received a message from him that he desired to be introduced. I gladly consented, and for nearly an hour we talked over the prospects of his success. He was enthusiastic, as all explorers and all generals who are about to make charges. He had heard my argument; or rather reasons given offhand, that were against his chances, but he was not the least bit deterred by the tremendous risks he was about to take.

"I expressed the opinion that the history of the wind currents demonstrated that nearly all of the winds from Asia, Europe and America blew from the south. It might, therefore, be possible for Andree to reach the pole, but in my opinion it was impossible that he should ever return. Andree's dream was that he might land, after passing the pole, on the Arctic coast of America.

"What Andree needed to insure his return, providing he overcame the mechanical difficulties, was a north wind after he reached the pole. That, of course, would have swept him back in the direction opposite to that from which he arrived. But all the physical facts were against him. He was not convinced of the theory that there would be such a loss of gas as might endanger his return. On the contrary, he said:

"'Even after thirty days I will have enough gas to go on with.'"

General Greely was asked if he believed that Andree's remains had been discovered. "It is idle," he said, "to speculate on the story. "If the remains are those of Andree and his balloon, it will be easy to demonstrate the fact from the marks on the balloon and other records which must have been left. Guessing about it will avail nothing, and especially as there have already been published so many stories of Professor Andree's undertaking. I prefer to wait on the proof."

General Greely was opposed to the undertaking of Professor Andree. After stating to Andree all the objections he had to the adventure and finding him still determined, General Greely exclaimed: "Gentlemen, if he is determined to go, let him go, and God be with him."

Reproduced with permission: L.L. Lewis, Explorations (Newspaper Clippings Related to Polar Exploration), Vol. 1 & 2. University Archives, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, KS.



Original Source:

N.Y. Journal, New York, NY. Feb. 12, 1899


Jennifer Holvoet, Ph.D.
University of Kansas


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