Fortune in jewels may be from plane crash

PARIS — A French mountain climber stumbled upon a case of dozens of cut jewels, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — believed to be debris from one of two Air India crashes decades ago, police said.

Police commander Sylvain Merly of France’s Savoie region said the experienced Mont Blanc climber, who asked to stay anonymous, found the box marked “Made in India” while scaling one of the peak’s glaciers and turned it in on Sept. 9. Authorities hope to find someone connected with its owner, who is presumed to have been a passenger on one of the two jets that crashed in 1950 or 1966.

Merly said Thursday the metal box, slightly smaller than a shoe box, was filled with small bags of loose jewels, mostly emeralds and sapphires. Merly said debris from the Air India crashes regularly rises to the surface on Mont Blanc.

“Things come up from the glaciers,” Merly said. “They’re always moving.”

Merly said the climber’s decision to turn over the box immediately “means that there are still honest people.”

“He could have kept them but he chose to turn them in because he knew they belonged to someone who probably perished,” Merly said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to the jewels if nobody claimed them.

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