- The Italia expedition -

Critical situation for Italia crew


Weather conditions deteriorate further - pack ice is breaking! Several members of Umberto Nobile's team are injured.

Weather conditions deteriorate further - pack ice is breaking! Several members of Umberto Nobile's team are injured.

The Scotsman newspaper reports that it has now become apparent that the crew of the Italia had been split at an early stage after the crash and that seven members were taken away in the gondola of the dirigible – “blown away at the wind's mercy,” as the newspaper puts it.

Meanwhile the group around Nobile is now regularly in radio contact with the Citta di Milano ship, but the survivors face further problems on the shifting pack ice. General Nobile and five of his companions have considered making an attempt to reach the sealer Braganza, it is reported, but their injuries and the difficult ice conditions all suggest that it is safer just to stay put. The Braganza on her part cannot get any closer to the stranded explorers, being held up by ice 125 miles westwards of the group. Broken limbs were bad enough, but now frost-bitten hands and feet are also part of the plight that the airship's crew has to face.

Besides, the weather around Spitsbergen has become even worse, making it impossible for the Norwegian airmen under the leadership of Captain Riiser Larsen to attempt any rescue mission from the air. It seems that the only hope now are the Russian icebreakers which are reported to be on their way from Archangel.

A Dornier Wal plane from Italy which is especially designed for Arctic conditions has been prepared for take off from Italy - but it is assumed that it will be several days before it will even reach Spitsbergen. The situation is truly desperate!

And there is no news of Adalberto Mariano, Filippo Zappi and Finn Malmgren who all left the Italia crash site ten days ago in a bid to walk south over the shifting ice to freedom and raise the alarm. Have they survived?

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