A treasure of emeralds, rubies and sapphires buried for decades on a glacier off Mont Blanc in France was ultimately shared between the climber who discovered them and local authorities, eight years after their discovery.
The climber stumbled upon the gems in 2013. They had remained hidden in a metal box that was on board an Indian plane that crashed into the desolate landscape some 50 years earlier.
âThe stones were split this weekâ into two equal lots worth around â¬ 150,000 ($ 169,000) each, said Chamonix Mayor Eric Fournier.
He was “very happy” that the events ended, he said, in particular for the mountaineer whom he praised for his “integrity” in handing his discovery to the police, as required by law.
After being informed that he would receive some of the jewelry earlier this year, the climber says Le Parisien newspaper, he âdidn’t regret being honestâ and that he would use some of the money to renovate his apartment.
Two Air India planes crashed into Mont Blanc in 1950 and 1966.
Over the years, climbers have regularly found debris, baggage and human remains from both planes.
Authorities believe the gemstones likely came from the 1966 flight, which was en route from Mumbai to New York. The Boeing 707, coming from Mumbai, crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966.
The accident killed 117 people, including the pioneer of India’s nuclear program, Homi Jehangir Bhabha.
In September 2012, India took possession of a bag of diplomatic mail from the theft and last year the melting ice of the Bossons glacier of Mont Blanc revealed copies of Indian newspapers with headlines from the time where Indira Gandhi became Indian Prime Minister.
Human remains found in the area in 2017 are also believed to come from the 1966 crash or that of the other Indian plane, the Malabar Princess, which crashed in 1950..
With Agence France Presse