l Antonio Bazzan
Norge Dirigible - 1924
     The Norge preparing for the second stage of its polar flight,
in its hangar in Pulham, England,
From the Library of Congress

Italia Dirigible - 1928
     Dirigibili Italia at King Bay, Spitsbergen, May 23, 1928 at 04h 28min,
before flying to the North Pole.
Courtesy of Domenico Marini, 2-7-06

via email from Marco Bazzan, 1-31-06
     My name is Marco Bazzan. I live in Verona, Italy. My grand father was in the early aviation group of the Italian army. He served in the Tripoli war and worked in the dirigible groups. He was in Rome when Vivaldi Pasqua crashed: "He was the very first victim of Italy," my grand father stated. So he took home part of the fabric of that Farrman... I was looking for a picture of the airplane to make a proper frame to the old piece.
      My grand father was in the group of the dirigible NORGE and later ITALIA . But my grandmother was about to deliver my ...father so "nonno Antonio" retired from the army. His army friends sent him some memories and only two survived to me. I will send to you those pctures. Thanks and hope to read about you (please forgive my English...)

     If you search for "Umberto Nobile", using the Google search engine,
(2-8-06), you will find about 42,500 links!! A good place to start is the following.

The Rescue Operations and The Search for Roald Amundsen
~ A Pictorial History ~
     This is the first of four well-illustrated pages on the PolarFlight Research Forum website. It offers a comprehensive revue of the crash of the Italia and of the rescue efforts which followed. It also offers several photographs relating to the attempt of the Norge dirigible to reach the Pole in 1926. On page four of the series, you will find a very valuable bibliography and also a list of relevant websites. It also mentions the film, "Red Tent," a fictionalized story based on the crash of the Italia. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Ettore Arduino: An action of vital importance
      This website offers a very comprehensive revue of the incident, including the lifesaving actions of Ettore Arduino and the story of the young Russian radio amateur, Nicholaj Schmidt, who intercepted the SOS from Biagi, the radio operator among the survivors of the crash. It is replete with anecdotes, photographs and important links to other websites of interest. As Domenico Marini explained, along with his recommendation of this site to our attention:

Here you will find the picture and the story, in English, of the Russian radio amateur Nicholaj Schmidt, who intercepted the SOS from the dirigible ITALIA and alerted the Russian authority.

The Russian Authority alerted the Russian Consulate in Roma, Italy and the Italian government sent U. Maddalena with a S-55 to the North Pole, as well as another seaplane, the MARINA-2, piloted by aviator Penzo, who unfortunately died during the flight back to home.

Fantastic history! And many pictures are available.

      You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Veteran Radio Amateur K2BX
Thanks to Amateur Radio operator Domenico Marini, i8cvs,
who suggested this website to me, N6NYK
     This transciption of a broadcast given by Philip B. Petersen, W2DME, on February 16, 1990, offers an interesting insight into the participation of Amateur Radio operator Merrill Beam, K2BX, in the rescue efforts of the crew of the Italia. The following excerpt from the broadcast will serve to characterize his support of the rescue:

"In 1923, he was the first radio amateur to establish radio communications with Admiral Byrd's early Antarctic expedition and handled many messages for Byrd. By the late 1920s, aircraft were used by different countries in polar explorations. General Umberto Nobile, the famous Italian explorer, was using the dirigible "Italia" with a crew of 16 when they crashed on the Arctic Ocean ice cap.
General Nobile said later, "We had been over the pole and were returning to our base in Spitzbergen, Norway on the 28th of May, 1928. With no reason we could explain, the airship suddenly dipped down and ten of us were thrown free through the bottom of the cabin as it hit the ice. One man was killed and one of my arms and one of my legs were broken. Then the airship did a strange thing. She shot back up into the air and away, carrying six men with her. No one ever saw them or the ship again.

     To read the rest of this fascinating story, the consequences of which continued even into the period of World War II, you can access the page by clicking on the title above.

48 Giorni
Alfredo Viglieri
Product Details
Cloth: 21 Illustrations
Publisher: A. MONDADORI - MILANO - 1929 - VII
Alfredo Viglieri
Excerpt from page 22,
Courtesy of Domenico Marini, 2-6-06
     I will try to translate into English the relative part of the page referring to the crash as written in his book "48 giorni sul pack " by Vessel Lieutenant Alfredo Viglieri of the Italian Navy, who was part of the crew.
The History
     " After been thrown onto the pack ice, I recovered from the shock and found myself lying on my back on a soft bed of snow. While I remained motionless, the dirigible passed over my head no more than one meter from my body. One of the propellers passed so close to me that I was afraid I would die. I was able to see the frame of the left motor and I recognized Arduino without his casque and he was looking down with his eyes wide open.
     At first I didn't know why, but I was tempted to get up and grasp to the flying body and go away with it. But I was inspired by my instinct for self preservation and the idea was driven away."

Biagi Racconti
I miracoli della Radio nella tragedia Polare
Giuseppe Biagi
Radio Officer of the ITALIA
Product Details
Cloth: 145 pages, 22 photos and 1 map
Publisher: A. MONDADORI - MILANO - 1929
via email from Domenico Marini, 2-6-06
     Incidentally, I have a videocassette VHF in standard PAL describing the interview made by Gianni Bisiack to Umberto Nobile for the Italian television RAI
     The cassette describes the raid of the ITALIA over the North Pole and lasts about one hour of original movie taken in that opportunity by the Italian service LUCE and all the members of the crew, including Arduino, are visible.
     When I get my second tape recorder repaired, I can make a copy.

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