Norway’s navy announced on Monday that it will help search for the missing plane of 20th century explorer Roald Amundsen, more than 80 years after his death.
The search — scheduled for later this year — will focus on a 40 square-mile (104 square-kilometer) area of the Arctic Ocean where researchers believe Amundsen’s plane crashed in 1928. “If there is something down there, we will find it,” said senior Commander Frode Loeseth told CNN. Loeseth said they will be concentrating on finding the plane’s wreckage, and do not expect to find any remains. Amundsen, who is a national hero in Norway, led the first successful expedition to the South Pole from 1910 to 1912. He is also credited with being the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. He went missing in June 1928 at the age of 55 while flying to the North Pole for a rescue operation. The location of his disappearance “is one of the remaining unsolved mysteries in our time,” a press release from the Norwegian Navy said. Loeseth said the navy will participate in the search along with the Norwegian Aviation Museum; Kongsberg Maritime, a Norwegian maritime technology company; and Context TV, a German TV production company that will document the operation. The search is scheduled to begin the last week of August. There have been several attempts to find the location of Amundsen’s crash, most recently in 2004. But this time Norway’s navy will be able to scour the depths of the Arctic Ocean with a submarine, named after a character in Norse mythology. “We have one special tool — Hugin — that is a state-of-the-art submarine, unmanned, and can search for 18 hours,” the commander said. Hugin is the mythological raven that traveled around Earth and informed the Norse god, Odin, of what happened that day. Loeseth said the navy has had the unmanned submarine for some time, but the one that will be used in the search is the Hugin 1000, a “newly modified and upgraded” model. Loeseth would not say how much the operation was expected to cost, or which organization was funding the bulk of the search. He stressed that the partners have an agreement and a budget, and Norwegian taxpayers will not be paying for any part of the search. He said Amundsen’s relatives support the project. He noted that it has been five years since the last search for Amundsen’s wreckage because “it takes time to raise funding for such projects.”