Climber can keep £115,000-worth of jewels found on Mont Blanc after plane crash

A mountaineer who discovered precious gems worth some £127,000 frozen in ice half way up Mont Blanc in the French Alps has been allowed to keep half of his find.

The jewels are thought to have been lost on the mountain after the mysterious crash of an Air India Boeing 707 in January 1966.

Because one of the 117 passengers killed in the crash was Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, rumours were circulated at the time that the aircraft was deliberately brought down with some speculating that it was shot down by a fighter jet or surface-to-air missile.

Investigative journalist Gregory Douglas claimed in his book Conversations with the Crow that former CIA operative Robert Crowley had told him the plane was brought down by a bomb planted in its cargo bay as part of a US plot to cripple india's nuclear programme.

Wreckage from the crash is still regularly found on Mont Blanc, as well as items from a previous Air India flight, the "Malabar Princess,” which crashed on almost the same spot 16 years earlier.

A package of Indian newspapers from 1966, still in readable condition, was found in 2008 and four years later a sack containing confidential diplomatic papers was found and handed in to French police.

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But it was in the following year, 2013, that a French climber made his amazing discovery: a metal box stamped with the Air India logo containing rubies, sapphires, and emeralds worth more than $168,000 (about £127,000).

The man handed the box into a local police station, expecting that they would be able to trace the original owners but a search yielded no results.

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As part of her research for her book Crash au Mont-Blanc, which tells the story of the two Air India crashes on the mountain, author Françoise Rey found insurance records for a box of emeralds sent to a man named Issacharov in London. However, Issacharov was never located.

Instead, a court has now ruled, the precious gems have divided up equally between the climber and the local Chamonix council: each receiving 75,000 euros (around £63,000).

The council plans put its stones on display at the Chamonix Crystal Museum, according to an official Facebook post.

The museum has been undergoing refurbishment but the jewels are expected to take pride of place when it reopens on December 19.

Air India Flight 101 was travelling from Bombay (modern day Mumbai) to London when crashed into the Alps.

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