• France edition
 
Climber finds treasure chest on Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak continues to unearth hidden treasures from long ago. Photo: Richard West

Climber finds treasure chest on Mont Blanc

Published: 26 Sep 2013 13:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Sep 2013 13:07 GMT+02:00

A French climber was left stunned when he stumbled across a metal box on a Mont Blanc glacier that was filled with emeralds, rubies and sapphires worth hundreds of thousands of euros, it was reported on Thursday.

The mountaineer, who wants to remain anonymous, discovered the box of treasures when climbing the famous Bossons Glacier, near Chamonix.

According to reports in local newspaper Le Dauphiné Liberé the climber saw the box lying in the ice and when he opened it found several little bags marked with the words “Made in India”.

To his astonishment inside the bags were gems, saphires, rubies and emeralds that had an estimated value of up to €246,000 ($332,000).

The climber since handed the treasure over to police.

SEE ALSO: Ten spectacular reasons to climb Mont Blanc

French authorities have paid tribute to the young man.

“He is an honest man who quickly realised this belonged to someone else,” the head of the gendarmerie in Albertville. “He could have kept it to himself but opted to hand it over to the police.

The buried booty is believed to be linked to two mysterious plane crashes involving in an Indian airliners in the middle of the last century. 

On November 3, 1950 the Malabar Princess, an Air India plane, crashed on Mont Blanc  killing 58 people on board. And 16 years later, on 24 January 1966, a Boeing 707 Air India plane en route from Mumbai to New York, came down at the same location. All 117 passengers on board were killed.

French authorities say they will contact their Indian counterparts to try to trace the owner of the treasure. Under French law, the jewellery could be handed over to the mountaineer if these are not identified.

Although the climber's find maybe the most precious so far, mountaineers on Mont Blanc have routinely come across debris, baggage and human remains from the crashes over the years.

In August last year a diplomatic post bag was discovered in the same area on the mountain

The bag stamped "Diplomatic mail" and "Ministry of External Affairs", was found by mountain rescue workers. The Indian embassy in Paris said it was looking forward to receiving the "very late mail". 

Earlier this year The Local France reported on another apparently freak find hundreds of miles away in Paris, when a homeless man discovered an arsenal of "weapons of war" in a waste bin.

He too decided to turn them over to police rather than keep them for himself.

And perhaps the biggest shock discovery came in May when a French couple returned from their holiday to Ecuador, to find 20 kg of cocaine in a suitcase.

They too decided against keeping the drugs and handed them over to local police.  

What would you do if you found a chest of jewels buried in a glacier?

Don't miss a story about France - join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Football star set for court after headbutt
PSG's Thiago Motta (L) was left with a bloody nose after an incident with Brandao (R). Photo: AFP

Football star set for court after headbutt

VIDEO: SC Bastia's Brazilian striker Brandao was held in custody for several hours on Friday and will face charges following his headbutt on Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Motta, a court source told AFP. READ  

Ask The Experts - Job Hunting
Six quick tips for finding a job in France
Ask the experts: Six quick tips for landing a job in France. Photo: Shutterstock

Six quick tips for finding a job in France

What it takes to find work in France is a bit different than back home, so The Local has gathered six quick tips from a French recruitment expert on what Anglos need to do to land that job. READ  

Islamic State
Iraq: 'The jihadists raped women and children'
Iraqi Christian refugees who fled the violence in their country reunite with relatives residing in France upon their arrival in Paris on August 21, 2014. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Iraq: 'The jihadists raped women and children'

Iraqi refugees who landed in France this week spoke of the horror as Islamic extremists rampaged through their homeland "raping women and children". READ  

Choosing a school
International vs French schools: How to decide?
Expat parents need to weigh up whether to send the kids to local or international school. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

International vs French schools: How to decide?

Put your kids in the local French state school system or shell out for an international school? It’s the choice that many expat parents in France have to make. But is there a right option? We've asked the parents. READ  

Ebola: Cabin crew told to boycott Air France flights
More pressure on Air France to scrap flights to Ebola hit countries. Photo: AFP

Ebola: Cabin crew told to boycott Air France flights

Pressure mounted on Air France to suspend flights to West Africa on Friday when a trade union called on cabin crew to refuse to board planes to Ebola hit countries. It comes after panic spread through a Paris flight earlier this week. READ  

Crook uses 3D printer to steal thousands
Is that ATM facade real or was it printed at home by a crook? Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP

Crook uses 3D printer to steal thousands

Three-dimensional printers are not always used to positive effect. A criminal in southern France managed to use one to steal thousands of euros from bank users, it emerged this week. READ  

France drinks to bumper 2014 wine harvest
France is set for a much better wine harvest than last year. Photo: Jean Louis Zimmerman/Flickr

France drinks to bumper 2014 wine harvest

There was some much-needed good cheer for France on Friday when winegrowers predicted a successful 2014. With over 6 million bottles set to be produced this year, there should be enough to go round. Although there was bad news for another crop. READ  

Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Ten ways expats in France can drive you mad. Can you guess what this one is about? Photo: Shutterstock

Ten ways expats in France drive you mad

This week The Local France has been asking readers about the things their fellow countrymen and women do that embarrass them or drive them mad. Needless to say we’ve had plenty of responses. READ  

France welcomes 40 Iraqi Christian refugees
The first of hundreds of Iraqi refugees have arrived in France. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

France welcomes 40 Iraqi Christian refugees

Some 40 Iraqi Christians were flown into Paris on Thursday as they seek refuge from the Islamic extremists who have captured the northern reaches of Iraq. French authorities expect to receive hundreds more. READ  

French pensioner told to prove he is alive
"Prove your alive" the bureaurats told one French pensioner. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

French pensioner told to prove he is alive

A retired Frenchman became embroiled in bureaucratic nightmare after he was denied a refund through his state health insurance on the grounds he was dead. He has been asked to prove otherwise. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
Choosing schools in France: Do you go international or French?
Gallery
From kissing to bad-mouthing: Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Culture
Ten things you need to know about the Liberation of Paris:
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Culture
VIDEO: Francophile Robin Williams enjoyed poking fun at the French
Travel
Six reasons why France is the world's top tourist destination
International
Remembering the 'forgotten campaign' in the liberation of France
Gallery
VIDEO: French bucket list - The 12 best things to do in France
International
Do three French cities deserve to be in top 10 "World 's Most Unfriendly"?
Gallery
Don't make a faux pas! Ten things not to do when working in France
Health
Ebola: What is the risk of it coming to France?
Health
Are the French really a nation of smokers?
Culture
Frightened by the prospect of long French dinners? You're not alone
National
'Stay in Paris in August? You'd have to be crazy'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se