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Climber can keep $84,000-worth of jewels he found on Mont Blanc

By Jack Guy, CNN

A climber who found a trove of precious stones on Mont Blanc has been given half of the 150,000-euro ($168,700) haul to keep after authorities couldn’t find the original owner.

The climber found the emeralds and sapphires on the mountain in France in 2013, and he has now been allowed to keep half of the stones, according to a Facebook post from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc council on Friday.

Gem experts divided the haul equally between the climber and the local council, with each lot valued at 75,000 euros ($84,350), a spokesman for the council told CNN on Tuesday.

The council will put its stones on display at the Chamonix Crystal Museum, which has been under renovation and is set to reopen on December 19, according to the Facebook post.

The council said the precious stones were being transported on board an Air India Boeing 707, the “Kanchenjunga,” which crashed on Mont Blanc in 1966, killing 117 people.

The crash is the subject of conspiracy theories suggesting the flight, which carried the father of India’s nuclear industry, Homi Bhabha, was shot down by a fighter jet or missile.

Another Air India plane, the “Malabar Princess,” crashed in the same area in 1950, killing all 48 people on board.

Debris from the wrecks routinely emerges from the bottom of the glacier, including metal, wire and even a piece of landing gear discovered in 1986, according to a Mont Blanc tourist site.

In July 2020 a cache of preserved newspapers from 1966 emerged from the melting glacier in France.

One of the newspapers was the January 20 edition of India’s National Herald, announcing the election of Indira Gandhi as the country’s first female Prime Minister.

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