Off Beat News

Melting glacier exposes newspapers frozen in time

Newspapers which were likely onboard a doomed Air India flight that crashed into Mont Blanc in 1966 have been discovered in a melting glacier.

Bossons glacier froze in time around a dozen copies of Indian newspapers with Indira Gandhi – India’s first female prime minister – splashed across the cover.

The papers were likely from an Air India Boeing 707 that crashed on the mountain on January 24, 1966, claiming 177 lives.

The trove was found last week by Timothée Mottin, 33, who runs a cafe-restaurant, La Cabane du Cerro, perched at an altitude of 4,455 feet near the Chamonix skiing hub.

He said: ‘They are drying now but they are in very good condition. You can read them.’

He told local media he finds remnants of the crash ‘every time we walk on the glacier.’

The modest cafe is around 45 minutes by foot from the Bossons glacier where the plane named after the Himalayan peak of Kangchenjunga mysteriously crashed.

Mr Mottin said he was lucky to discover the papers when he did because the ice in which they were encased for nearly six decades ‘had probably just melted’.

Once the papers have dried out, they will join a growing collection of found items from the crash that Mottin has put on display at the Cabane du Cerro.

He said he preferred to share his finds with visitors rather than ‘hide them in an attic waiting to sell them’ – something he said had become a ‘business’ for less scrupulous climbers.

On the morning of January 24 1966 Air India Flight 101 travelling from Bombay to London accidentally crashed into Mont Blanc.

The aircraft had already made two designated stops, at Delhi and Beirut, and was due to make a third in Geneva.

The pilot had been instructed to descend for Geneva Airport upon passing Mont Blanc.

However, with one of the aircraft’s radio navigation systems having failed, the captain wrongly assumed he had passed over the mountain and began his descent.

The aircraft flew straight into the Mont Blanc massif.

Numerous discoveries have been found at the site across the years – including a diplomatic mail containing letters from India’s foreign ministry.

Human remains were found in the area in 2017 that could have come from the 1964 crash or that of another Indian plane, the Malabar Princess, that came down in the same area in 1950.

The most stunning find occurred in 2013, that of a box of precious stones – emeralds, sapphires and rubies worth between 130,000 and 246,000 euros ($145,000-$275,000) – thought to have come from the 1966 crash.

Mr Motton (pictured with his find) said: ‘They are drying now but they are in very good condition. You can read them’

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