Roald Amundsen present at Aftenposten's dinner in Oslo
It so happened that a luncheon was taking place in Oslo that very day, hosted by the Aftenposten newspaper, that brought together many leading polar explorers and pioneer aviators, among them Roald Amundsen. The buoyant and upbeat atmosphere is dampened when a telegram arrives from Aftenposten’s Spitsbergen correspondent, announcing that the airship Italia has not returned. A few minutes later come the news that the government of Italy, increasingly concerned at the lack of news from the Italia, has contacted the Norwegian authorities in Oslo. The saddle of lamb and French claret at the Dronningen now suddenly seem irrelevant, and the assembled experts consider if and how a search and rescue mission might be mounted.
On the ice pack, around the wreckage of the Italia, the survivors are assessing the situation. It is nothing short of desperate. Bits and pieces of radio equipment lie scattered around, but nothing that can be used immediately to send out a message. A few boxes of food are within reach: some chocolate and some pemmican.