The Bossons Treasure
The treasure retrieved on the Bossons glacier soon to be exhibited in Chamonix.
Emeralds, sapphires and rubies, believed to be remnants of the Air India Boeing 707 crash in 1966, were expelled by the Bossons glacier in 2013, after a long journey beneath the steepest ice-fall in Europe.
Eight years later, the treasure is about to be shared between the climber at the origin of the discovery and to the town of Chamonix, the legitimate land owner.
The alpinist made the incredible discovery as he climbed the glacier in the early hours of a September morning in 2013. He spotted a metal box lying on the snow. It revealed a number of small sachets, some of which were marked "Made in India". The mountaineer handed the box over to the Bourg-Saint-Maurice gendarmerie.
The treasure is believed to be a remnant of the Air India plane crash, the Kangchenjunga, which collided with Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966. The Boeing 707, which was on the Bombay-New York route, ended its journey just beneath the summit of Mont-Blanc at approximately 4,750 meters above sea level, killing 117 people. No passengers survived.
The treasure, valued between 150,000 and 250,000 euros, has remained in a safe since its discovery, whilst the State authorities sought for a legitimate heir. In December 2020, the town was informed that no heir had been found. The glacier's treasure was then entrusted to an expert in order to assess its value. "I hope to see the end of the tunnel soon and I do not regret having been honest", confides the climber to the Parisian. He intends to use part of the money to renovate his apartment.
Part of the treasure will soon be on display in the new Crystal Museum in Chamonix
The municipality wants these precious stones to enrich the collection of the Chamonix crystal museum. They will hopefully be exhibited to the general public in the near future. "It seemed legitimate to us, if we were in possession of these stones, to showcase them and to tell their remarkable story" explains Eric Fournier, mayor of Chamonix. Their value is both historical and patrimonial. It will be a question of paying tribute to the victims and to explain the journey of a plane that crashes on Mont-Blanc and whose stones continue their journey, to reappear several decades later."
The Bossons glacier regularly rejects vestiges of accidents that have occurred at Mont-Blanc - aircraft parts, suitcases or even human remains. In July 2020, the owner of a nearby refreshment chalet discovered a pack of old newspapers which were also from the Kangchenjunga crash. They were in very good condition as they had been conserved in a block of ice which had just melted.
Sixteen years prior to the Boeing 707 crash, on November 3, 1950, another Indian plane, the Malabar Princess, collided with Mont-Blanc, killing 58 people. Rumour has it, that the plane was transporting gold bars, although they have never been found!
Source article: Margot Desmas with Marion Feutry France 3 Auvergne Rhône-Alpes