Under the direction of designer General Umberto Nobile, the Italian airship Norge was flown by Nobile from Rome to Vadso in northern Norway and next to King’s Bay on Svalbard. This occurred in early May, 1926. The airship had been purchased by Lincoln Ellsworth in hopes of flying to the North Pole. Both Ellsworth and Roald Amundsen were accomplished explorers.

A serious challenge confronted the explorers as this daring event had never been attempted previously. As is the case with explorers, the greater the challenge, the more they harden themselves for the seemingly impossible task that lies ahead. Many unknowns however can quickly factor in. Most notable are serious forces of nature, the weather: unthinkable coldness, severely powerful winds, constant atmospheric air pressure changes, etc. When the Norge left Svalbard on May 11, 1926 there were 16 men on board. No one aware of what lies ahead.

Under the direction of Ellsworth and Amundsen, both pilot Umberto Nobile along with an experienced navigator, Captain Ruser-Larsen set their sights on the North Pole. Problem #1 developed quickly. The radio antennae iced up ending all radio contact. However on May 12, 1926, American, Norwegian, and Italian flags were dropped on the North Pole.  Weeks later, tragedy knocked on the door of both Nobile and Amundsen. Both men met their fate in slightly different ways.

 

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