In 2013, while ascending Mont Blanc in France, a French climber came across a container amongst a plane crash wreckage filled with an assortment of precious stones. Complying with French law, the finding was handed over to the local authorities. It wasn’t until this year, eight years later, that individual was finally rewarded with half of the gems, valued at a nearly $170,000 prize. The jewels consisted of a variety of sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.
The metal box they were contained in was very likely buried under snow for nearly 50 years. It was believed to be yet another piece of debris found from a 1966 Air India plane crash into the Southwest face of the tallest peak in Western Europe. The passengers were traveling from Bombay to New York and were on a connecting flight from Beirut, Lebanon to Geneva, Switzerland in a Boeing 707 at the time of the crash, which killed all 117 on board.
The 1966 crash was not the first plane crash or even the first Air India Crash on Mont Blanc. The mountain was also home to the demise of a smaller commercial plane in 1950, similarly killing all 48 passengers and crew. Over the last few decades, melting glaciers have led to uncovered findings from the wreckage of the past plane crashes. Mont Blanc has seen the demise of not only planes but countless climbers, skiers, and mountaineers drawn to the prestige of the spectacular summit.