Weird History

They Left For The Arctic Via Hot Air Balloon - Their Doomed Expedition Was Found Three Decades Later

On August 5, 1930, a group of men on a sealing expedition made their way across a rarely exposed ice sheet in the Svalbard Arctic Region along the Norwegian archipelago only to discover a scene that was long thought to have been lost to history. While the group, named the Bratvaag Expedition, had intended to hunt seals and study the structure of the glaciers in the area, they instead found themselves unintentionally excavating the remains of the disappeared S.A. Andrée Expedition, which had gone missing in that very region of the Arctic over 30 years before. 

The 1897 balloon expedition was intended to be Sweden's opportunity to become the first country to officially explore the North Pole as part of an Arctic Race whose hype and nationalistic fervor in many ways parallelled that of the Space Race of the 1960s. Led by Salomon August Andrée, a Swedish explorer and engineer, accompanied by Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel, the expedition aimed to pilot a hot air balloon from Svalbard, Norway, to either Russia or Canada, passing directly over the North Pole in the process. Tragically, the three men who committed themselves to the S.A. Andrée Expedition never made it back, and their fate was left unknown.

Once their final camp was rediscovered in 1930, the mystery of what truly happened to the lost explorers finally began to unravel, with their bodies, goods, journals, and even film cameras preserved by the icy tundra.