Indian items discovered as glacier melts


A fascinating story in The Guardian newspaper says that the famous Mont Blanc glacier in the French Alps is yielding more secrets as it melts—among them newspapers with banner headlines from when Indira Gandhi became India’s first, and so far only, female prime minister in 1966. The historic discovery is related to the tragic Air India plane crash on January 24, that year. Among the items discovered by climbers are copies of  the National Herald and The Economic Times which are still preserved because of snow and freezing conditions. The find which included a dozen newspapers was found, according to The Guardian report, by Timothee Mottin, who runs a cafe-restaurant at an altitude of 4,455 feet near the popular Chamonix skiing area. “They are drying now but they are in very good condition,” Mottin told reporters. “You can read them.” The cafe is around 45 minutes by foot from the Bossons glacier, where the plane named after the Himalayan peak of Kangchenjunga mysteriously crashed. The readable condition of the newspapers was because of the ice in which they had been encased for nearly six decades.

The papers are among other items from the crash that Mottin has put on display at his cafe, and includes the most valuable discovery, a box of emeralds, sapphires and rubies worth between $145,000 and $275,000, thought to have belonged to a passenger on that fatal 1966 crash. The Air India flight 101, a Boeing 707, was flying from Bombay to London via Beirut and was en route to Geneva for another stop when it crashed into the mountain. All 106 passengers and 11 crew members died, including Dr Homi Bhabha, the father of India’s nuclear programme.

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