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Two fatal Air India crashes on Mont Blanc: jewels and conspiracies

On November 3, 1950, an Air India flight crashed into Rochers de la Tournette (Google maps), a face of Mont Blanc, killing all 48 people on board. A second Air India flight crashed at nearly the same location on January 24, 1966, killing the 106 passengers and 11 people in the flight crew. It is generally assume that the second crash was due to the pilot mis-judging their location based on faulty equipment and limited visual cues (embedded PDF), leading to a premature descent and the death of the 117 people on board. Also on board were 100 precious emeralds, sapphires and rubies that were recently discovered, but have been kept out of sight of the public and journalists, possibly to allow the Mayor of Chamonix and climber who found the jewels to split their loot. Then there is the conspiracy theory that the second crash was caused by a collision with an Italian aircraft that had gone missing the same day, with the goal of killing Dr. Homi Bhabha, the father on India's nuclear program. This theory is supported by Daniel Roche, a property consultant by trade who has spent years collecting a ton and a half of objects from the crash sites (French article; Google auto-translation). And of course, there's the theory that the CIA was trying to silence Dr. Bhabha as he was on his way to "stir up more trouble" in Vienna.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 25, 2014 - 9 comments

"If you stop, you will die"

Fifty years ago today, the bodies of Jean Vincendon and François Henry were finally being brought back to Chamonix. The two young mountaineers had set-off for the ascent of Mont-Blanc and found themselves blocked in an ice storm on their way down. A rescue team found them several days later, sitting on the glacier by temperatures of -30°C at 4000 meters of altitude. They were alive, photographed even, but could not be brought down and died later on, abandoned in the wreckage of the old Sikorsky rescue helicopter which had crashed beside them. The operation fiasco caused a total reorganization of the mountain rescue service in France.
posted by rom1 on Mar 19, 2007 - 6 comments

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