In 1897, Salomon Andrée of Sweden tried another method of reaching the North Pole: balloon. Although skeptics doubted the ability to keep a balloon aloft that long, Andrée countered that summer conditions would minimize temperature variations, so the balloon's gas would not expand or contract too much. But shortly before their scheduled departure, a leak in the balloon was discovered - one that would cause the balloon to lose about 35 cubic meters of gas per day. Despite warnings, including one from the balloon-maker himself, André, Nils Strindberg, and Knut Fraenke departed on the Eagle on July 11. The balloon was never seen again, and the fate of the men would not be discovered for 33 years. Then in August 1930, a Norwegian fishing boat found relics from the Andrée expedition, including a canvas boat, sled, a cook stove, food, and clothing. The skeletons of Andrée and Strindberg were also found. Most importantly, Andrée's diary was discovered in nearly perfect condition. The journal revealed that three days into the voyage, ice began to weight the balloon down, forcing the team to open the valves and land the balloon. For the next three months, the men trekked over the ice in an attempt to reach land. But all three men perished, and the last journal entry by Andrée was dated October 12, 1897.
Solomon Andree and his crew set sail for the North Pole on their balloon the Eagle on July 11, 1897. Their fate would remain unknown for 33 years. (Image Credit: Andréemuseet, Grenna Museum, Gränna, Sweden)