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Climber allowed to keep half of $169,000 of gems he found on Mont Blanc decades after deadly airliner crash

A treasure trove of emeralds, rubies and sapphires buried for decades on a glacier off France's Mont Blanc has finally been shared between the climber who discovered them and local authorities, eight years after they were found.

The mountaineer stumbled across the precious stones in 2013. They had remained hidden in a metal box that was on board an Indian plane that crashed in the desolate landscape some 50 years earlier.

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The mountaineer stumbled across the gems in 2013.  Chamonix-Mont-Blanc council.

"The stones have been shared this week" in two equal lots valued at around 150,000 euros ($169,000), Chamonix mayor Eric Fournier told AFP.

He said he was "very happy" that events had been brought to a conclusion, in particular for the climber who he praised for his "integrity" in turning his find in to police as required by law.

"This unique geological and historical heritage is now joining the chamoniard mineral collections," according to a Facebook post from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc council.

Two Air India planes crashed into Mont Blanc decades ago. The first plane called "The Malabar Princess" crashed in 1950, killing 48 people, the BBC reported, and the second airliner crashed in 1966, killing 117.

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"The Malabar Princess" crashed in 1950, killing 48 people, the BBC reported. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc council.

Over the years, climbers have routinely found debris, baggage and human remains from the aircraft.

In September 2012, India took possession of a bag of diplomatic mail from the Kangchenjunga, a Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai which crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966. The BBC reported that the bag contained newspapers, calendars and a personal letter from 1966.

The crash killed 117 people including the pioneer of India's nuclear program, Homi Jehangir Bhabha.

Authorities believe the precious stones are likely to have come from that flight which had been en route from Mumbai to New York.

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