Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Latham 47 02

During a recent visit to Normandy and Paris, we happened along a monument featuring a seaplane, which I had never seen before and upon investigation discovered an event I had never heard of, the crash of the airship Italia during a polar expedition in 1928. A twenty man expedition had set off from Italy to explore the polar area based from Spitsbergen. Two successful flights had been made but bad weather during the third caused the airship to crash on the icepack on May 25. 
Nine survivors of the crew were stranded on the ice and during the next month and a half, a multi-nation sea, surface and air search took place until the crew and various would-be rescuers were all retrieved from various locations by August 14th. The monument commemorates the French seaplane Latham 47 02 which joined the search but disappeared over the Barents sea on its flight to Spitsbergen. Four men were lost including the explorer Roald Amundsen.

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