A climber who found a treasure trove of emeralds, sapphires and sapphires buried for decades in a chest in the French Mont Blanc Mountains got half of the gem.
The climber, whose name has not been revealed, discovered the gem in 2013. It is believed that the chest belonged to a person on an Indian plane that crashed in Mont Blanc half a century ago, in 1966.
The climber was commended for handing the box over to the police, as French law required.
And now, eight years after its discovery, it was rewarded with half a treasure of hundreds of gems. The other half was taken by the local authority in Chamonix after a failed attempt to locate the owner’s family in India.
The jewelry was divided into two equal pieces, valued at about 150,000 euros (more than 960,000 Brazilian reais at current prices), Eric Fournier, Mayor of Chamonix, Eric Fournier, told AFP.
The climber praised his “integrity” in handing over the found content to the police.
Two Air India planes have already collided with a Mont Blanc – the first in 1950, killing 48 people. In 1966, a second flight of India’s national airline hit the mountain with 117 passengers on board.
Officials believe the gem most likely came from a 1966 flight, which was on its way from Mumbai to New York when it crashed.
Since then, human remains have been found on the mountain, as well as luggage belonging to those on board.
In 2012, a briefcase with diplomatic correspondence from India was found. The bag contained newspapers, calendars and a personal letter from 1966.
The physicist known as the “father” of the Indian nuclear programme, Homi J. Bhabha, was among those killed in the 1966 accident.
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