The jute bag, stamped ‘Diplomatic mail’ and ‘Ministry of External Affairs’, was recovered by mountain rescue worker Arnaud Christmann and his neighbour Jules Berger on August 21.
“Some tourists came and told us they had seen something shining on the Bossons glacier,” so he and his neighbour decided to go have a look, said Christmann. “We found pieces of the cabin, a shoe, cables - it’s a real dump up there!”
The two men also came across a plane wheel and, 20 metres further on, the diplomatic bag that was ‘sitting as if someone had just placed it there’. “We were hoping for diamonds or at least a few gold ingots. Instead we got some soaking wet mail and Indian newspapers,” Christmann quipped.
The Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai to New York, crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966 as it descended towards a scheduled stopover in Geneva, Switzerland. All 117 people on board died.
The diplomatic bag was handed over to police in the town of Chamonix at the base of the mountain.