Copies of Indian newspapers from 1966 have been found under the ice of the melting French glacier of Bossons on the Mont Blanc mountain range, believed to be from an Air India plane that crashed on 24 January 1966, killing all 117 people on board.
The newspapers, which have been fairly in good shape, with the headlines of the papers reading India’s former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s victory in elections in 1966, were discovered by Timothée Mottin, who runs the cafe-restaurant La Cabane du Cerro at an altitude of 1,350 metres above the French resort of Chamonix.
“It’s not unusual. Every time we walk on the glacier with friends, we find remains of the crash. With experience, you know where they are. They are being carried along by the glacier according to their size,” Mottin said. Other than The Statesman, Congress mouthpiece National Herald and The Hindu copies were also found.
Once they will be completely dried out, he claimed, they will be kept as a display in his restaurant, as a part of collection of items he had found of the crash over time.
Since 2012, many relics related to the Air India crash from 1966 have been emerging from the glacier. A bag of diplomatic mail stamped as “On Indian Government Service, Diplomatic Mail, Ministry of External Affairs”, was found in 2012.
Besides these recently found newspapers and a bag of diplomatic mail, the most precious remnants of the crash were discovered in 2013—a box of invaluable stones including emeralds, sapphires and rubies that was estimated to be worth between €130,000 (£117,000; $147,000) and €246,000 (£221,000; $279,000).
The Air India plane crash
The Air India 101, which was flying from Mumbai, then known as Bombay to London, crashed into Europe’s highest mountain at 8 AM on January 24, 1966, following a verbal flight control miscommunication, resulting in the loss of 106 passengers and 11 crew members on board.
The flight had made two scheduled stops in Delhi and Beirut, Lebanon and was on its way to make the third stop in Geneva, Switzerland. However, during its descent in Geneva, it accidentally collided into the summit of Mount Black mountain range, killing all the people on the flight.
Melting glaciers present ominous signs of Global Warming
In one of the starkest examples of Global Warming adversely affecting the ecology of Earth, rising temperatures are causing the mountain glaciers of Europe’s highest mountain range to melt and polar ice sheets to recede. Last year, officials had flagged a warning that a part of the Planpincieux glacier on Mont Blanc’s Grandes Jorasses peak was susceptible to meltdown.