Indian papers ‘from 1966 jet crash’ found in Alps

Indian newspapers from 1966 have surfaced in the French Alps, under the ice of a melting Mont Blanc glacier.

They are believed to be from an Air India plane that crashed on 24 January, 1966, killing all 117 people on board.

The front pages report the landmark election of Indira Gandhi, India’s first – and to this day, only – female prime minister.

About a dozen papers, including the National Herald and the Economic Times, were found by a local restaurant owner.

Timothee Mottin, whose restaurant is near the Chamonix ski resort area, told AFP news agency: “They are drying now but they are in very good condition. You can read them.”

Once they’ve dried out, he said, they will be displayed in his restaurant, as part of a collection of items from the crash that he’s found over time.

The most valuable relic from the crash was found in 2013 – a box of precious stones including emeralds, sapphires and rubies that was estimated to be worth between €130,000 (£117,000; $147,000) and €246,000 (£221,000; $279,000).

Rising global temperatures are causing mountain glaciers to melt and polar ice sheets to retreat. Last September, officials warned part of the Planpincieux glacier on Mont Blanc’s Grandes Jorasses peak was vulnerable to collapse.

Air India flight 101 was flying from Mumbai – then known as Bombay – to London when it crashed near the summit of Mont Blanc on 24 January 1966.

The flight had made two scheduled stops in Delhi and Beirut, Lebanon, and was on its way to another stop in Geneva, Switzerland.

However, during the descent into Geneva the aircraft collided with the mountain, killing all 106 passengers and 11 crew members on board.

Who was Indira Gandhi?

Indira Gandhi was the daughter of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and after him was the country’s second-longest-serving prime minister.

She held the post twice. Her first term lasted 11 years but after a turbulent two-year state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 she called an election to vindicate her position – a move that resulted in her losing her seat.

Re-elected in January 1980, she remained in power until she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. Her killing came after Operation Blue Star, an Indian military operation against Sikh militants in Punjab.

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