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No Fear No Favour

Remains of a 1966 Indian newspaper found on melting French Glacier

By Purvi Jain

Indian newspaper copies with headlines like ‘India’s first prime minister’ referring to Indira Gandhi’s election won in 1966 have been found 54 years after an Air India plane crashed there. The remains of the newspaper have been recovered from the melting French Glacier of Bossons on the Mont Blanc mountain ranges in Western Europe.

The newspapers found are from the residue of an Air India plane that crashed into Europe’s highest mountain on January 24, 1966, and were being discovered by Timothee Mottin who runs a cafe-restaurant La Cabane du Cerro at an altitude of 1350 meters above the French resort of Chamonix.

33-year-old Mottin told the local french daily, “Le Daupine Libere’, “They are drying now but they are in very good condition. You can read them,” quoted the ‘The Guardian’ newspaper and a few other agencies in the UK.

He told, “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”.

The Air India Boeing 707 had crashed into the range after a miscommunication with the verbal flight control occurred, causing loss of all 177 passengers and the crew.

Copies of the ‘National Herald ‘ and ‘Economic Times’ are among the most popular newspaper of Mottin, who owns a café at about 45 minutes from the Bossons glacier, where the plane named after the Himalayan peak of Kanchenjunga crashed mysteriously over 54 years ago.

Mottin informed that he felt lucky to discover the papers when he did because the ice in which it was grounded probably just melted. Once the paper dried out, they will become part of a growing collection of items left from the crash that Mottin has put on display at his café to share with the visitors.

Since 2012, there have been a number of findings recovered from the crash which is emerging from the melting ice caps.

A bag of diplomatic mail was discovered of diplomatic mail, stamped “On Indian government services, Diplomatic Mail, Ministry of external affairs” in 2012. A year later, a French climber found a box that contained the Air India logo having emeralds, sapphires, and rubies worth between GBP 117,000 and GBP 230,000.

Human remains found in the area in 2017 are believed to belong to the 1966 plane crash or that of another Indian plane, the Malabar Princess, that came down in the area in 1950.

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