On September 28, the Russian State Arctic and Antarctic Museum in St. Petersburg opened an exhibition of rare photographs dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the Umberto Nobile’s International Polar Expedition. The exhibition is a joint project of the museum and the Russian Geographical Society. Unique pictures from the family archive of one of the participants of the journey to the North Pole Felice Troiani were obtained with the support of the society "Friendship Italy – Russia".
Umberto Nobile's expedition on the airship "Italia" started on April 15, 1928 from Milan. On May 23 of the same year, the flag of Italy, the heraldic banner of Milan, and the cross consecrated by the Pope were dropped at the North Pole. However, on the way back, the aircraft was seriously damaged due to strong headwinds and frost, and then hit the ice during sharp descent. Part of the crew and equipment, along with the gondola, was thrown onto an ice floe. The unguided airship was carried away to the east along with several crew members. They were never found. A distress signal from the survivors on June 3 was received by a Soviet amateur radio operator Nikolai Schmidt on a homemade receiver. He passed the information to Moscow, and a day later the Soviet Union informed the Italian government about the incident. The first international rescue operation in the history of mankind involved 18 ships and 21 aircraft from six countries.
“The history of polar exploration knows many heroic and tragic pages with the participation of our compatriots. This year we remember all those who took part in the rescue of Umberto Nobile's expedition back in 1928. It was one of the most tragic stories of the conquest of the Arctic, followed with bated breath by the whole world. Many books have been written about these historic events, and director Mikhail Kalatozov shot a joint Soviet-British-Italian feature film ‘The Red Tent’. A special role in the rescue of the dying expedition was played by the Soviet Union, whose leadership sent the ‘Perseus’ hydrographic vessel, the ‘Sedov’ and ‘Malygin’ icebreaking steamers, and the most powerful icebreaker ‘Krasin’ to search for the Italians, which eventually reached the scene of the tragedy and saved the victims," said the director of the RGS’s Headquarters in St. Petersburg Roman Ryabintsev.