Climber finds jewels on French glacier

Sept. 26, 2013 at 5:45 PM

ALBERTVILLE, France, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A man climbing on a French glacier found bags of jewels, possibly cargo from the decades-old crash of an Indian airliner, officials said Thursday.

The bags were stamped "Made in India."

Albertville Police Chief Sylvain Merly said the climber found the jewels in a metal box this month on a glacier overlooking the southeastern French village of Chamonix, CNN reported.

The climber, in his 20s, asked to remain anonymous. He turned the box over to police in Bourg-Saint-Maurice Sept. 9.

Merly refused to describe the jewels, but CNN said French media report they are rubies, sapphires and emeralds. The police chief did say they're worth between 130,000 euros (about $175,000) and 246,000 euros (about $331,600).

If French officials do not establish the owner of the jewels, the climber would receive part of their value, Merly said.

CNN said the jewels may be from the 1950 crash of Air India Flight 245, the "Malabar Princess," which smashed into nearby Mont Blanc during a storm, killing all 48 aboard. French officials say it's possible the treasure could have been aboard an Air India Boeing 707, the "Kanchenjunga," that crashed in nearly the same in 1966.

CNN said the Kanchenjunga is the focus of some conspiracy theories -- the Air India flight carried the father of India's nuclear industry, Homi Bhabha, and conspiracy theorists suggest it was shot down by a fighter or missile.

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