- The Italia expedition -

Already some recriminations


some welcome food: a polar bear

Some welcome food: a polar bear

In the early hours of the morning the Italia survivors, stranded on the pack ice north of Spitsbergen, have an unexpected visitor: a polar bear. The bear finds and plays with equipment scattered over the ice. For the crash survivors, this is chance for real food. Finn Malmgren shoots and kills the bear.

Far away to the south, the uncertain fate of the Italia and its crew has given rise to suggestions in the European media that airship travel is still not safe. Even if General Umberto Nobile had not crashed on the ice, the petrol on board would only have lasted for a flight of about 80 or 90 hours. And of course once landed on ice, the airship would be in no position to take off again.

So what are Nobile's chances? The press pundits are pessimistic, and already commentators are casting around for the underlying causes of what now surely is a disaster. Some say that Nobile chose a bad time for the expedition, since the ice of the polar region north of Spitsbergen is already breaking up at this time of year. However, with an extra month's supply of rations, the crew was well prepared for any hold-ups. Yet none of the team is very experienced in ground travel over Arctic ice. Let us keep our fingers crossed!

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