In Search of Amundsen

Roald Amundsen is perhaps the greatest polar explorer that ever lived. He was the first person to reach the South Pole, and then later went to the North as well. He also became the first person to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage in a time when it was thought to be impossible.

In 1928, while mounting a rescue mission for explorers who had crashed in an airship returning from the North Pole, Amundsen’s plane crashed into the Barents Sea, and his body was never found, although debris believed to be from the plane was later recovered. It was a mysterious end to the great explorers life.

Now, a major expedition is being mounted to go in search of Amundsen’s remains, and his plane, the Latham 47. The team will set out, with a Norwegian Naval Ship and special sonar equipment, for the Barents Sea, in hopes of locating the wreckage and salvaging it once and for all.

The Expedition’s website has more information about what they intend to do, and it includes more of the history between Amundsen and Umberto Nobile, the man he was trying to rescue. There is also a Search Blog in place that I presume will be updated with info once the expedition gets underway at the end of the month.

Back in 1926, Amundsen and Nobile flew across the North Pole together in an airship designed by the Italian. Two years later, when Nobile’s latest airship went down, Amundsen was asked to join the rescue, but in doing so, lost his own life. Ironically, Nobile was successfully plucked from the ice, and went on to live to the ripe old age of 93.

While there doesn’t seem to be a great mystery as to what happened to Amundsen, it would still be interesting to see his remains found after all these years. And I’m sure, they’d be taken home to his native Norway, where he would be given a heroes welcome. Hopefully the team will find what they are looking for.

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on “In Search of Amundsen”

  1. A true survivor. I caught a documentary about hiim on pbs. The hardships and terrors he went through would be enough to break any ordinary man, and somehow, he managed to come out fine!

  2. Agreed! He was an amazing man and lived through hardships like no other. And he kept going back for more!

  3. Sean Connery played Amundsen in the 1969 film "The Red Tent", about the failed Nobile expedition. A pretty good film, though the Amundsen character has a fairly small role.

  4. Hmm… interesting. Never head of the film, but may have to try and find it. Thanks for the tip!

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