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Advices (sic) from Spitzbergen, via Tromsoe, on the island of the same name, off Norway, are to the effect that what may be termed the most remarkable and daring of all North pole expeditions has actually begun. After costly preparations and spending two months within the acrtic (sic) circle, waiting for a favorable wind, M. Andree and his companions are at last off in the balloon of special construction, which it is hoped will carry them to the magnetic centre of the earth and back to a part of the globe less difficult of access. The ascent, the dispatch informs us, was accomplished a week ago, and unless the plan of the intrepid originator of the sensational enterprise miscarries he is by this time somewhere on the North American continent or in Siberia. He calculated that with a fairly good breeze the aerial journey to the pole could be accomplished in forty-three hours, or something less than two days. Allowing a day or two for a landing and brief observations, and another forty-three hours for the return, the journey would consume only about six days. But of course the possibilities of such an expedition are unlimited. Any one of innumerable things may happen. Although the equipment contained among other articles anchors by means of which it was hoped to modify the course of the air ship the latter may have been blown in a direction not contemplated and not passed over the pole at all. Then again an accident might occur and compel a premature landing, leaving the courageous explorer to push along by boat and sledge over the dreary waste. As far as practicable, unforseen exigencies have been provided for.

Thus the balloon, which is specially constructed and capable of carrying three persons, instruments, and provisions for three month was also ballasted with a boat convertible into a sledge. Gas under pressure in cylinders sufficient to keep the balloon aloft for thirty days was taken. The party proceeded by boat to Dane Island from whence the ascent was made If M. Andree, who is examiner in Chief of the Royal Patent Office in Stockholm, Sweden, succeeds in his purpose his fame will be assured. Even though he were unable to pursue extensive observations the novelty of the scheme, the manifold risks and dangers and the fact of having reached the pole would atone for its short comings. There is about it something fantastic that fascinates. Neither Nansen nor Lieutenant Peary nor Jackson appeals so forcibly to popular curiosity or interest, although their contributions to science may be greater. The story which M. Andree will have to tell if he comes back alive will equal in marvelousness the highest flights of fancy.

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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Original Source:

Hazelton Sentinel, Hazelton, PA. July 21, 1897

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Jennifer Holvoet, Ph.D.
University of Kansas

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