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‘India’s First Woman Prime Minister’ — Mont Blanc glacier melt reveals perfectly preserved newspapers from 1966

Jul 13, 2020, 6:18 AM
A picture taken on July 9, 2020, at the Bossons glacier near Chamonix in the French Alps, shows a 1...
A picture taken on July 9, 2020, at the Bossons glacier near Chamonix in the French Alps, shows a 1966 copy of Indian newspaper The Herald with a healdline announcing the election of Indira Gandhi, likely to have been on board the Air India Boeing 707 "Kangchenjunga" aircraft that crashed in the nearby Mont Blanc massif on January 24, 1966. - A dozen newspapers dated January 20 and 21, 1966, including some with Indian headlines announcing the election of Indira Gandhi, India's only women prime minister, were found on July 7, 2020, by the manager of a nearby cafe-restaurant on the Bossons glacier, which regularly spits out remains of the crash. (Photo by Bernard BARRON / AFP) (Photo by BERNARD BARRON/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by BERNARD BARRON/AFP via Getty Images)

    (CNN) — A cache of preserved newspapers from 1966 has emerged from a melting glacier in France, the latest in a string of objects that have been revealed as the glacier retreats.

Café-owner Timothée Mottin found about a dozen newspapers dating from January 20 and 21, 1966 near the Bossons Glacier, southeastern France, he told CNN.

The newspapers are “in a very good state, you can read them, unfold them,” he said. “Well, they are a bit torn, but in a very good state nonetheless.”

The Bossons Glacier is the largest ice fall in Europe, according to the French government, and descends from the summit of Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe.

Mottin has owned the Cabane du Cerro café-restaurant, about an hour outside the ski town of Chamonix, for the past five years.

The business is right next to the glacier at an altitude of over 4,400 feet, and Mottin often finds objects in the ice.

“As the glacier is advancing, it brings with it objects from the top of the Mont Blanc,” he said.

However, Mottin added, it’s quite rare to find newspapers, especially this many at once.

“For now, the newspapers will be displayed in the restaurant/cabin that is just by the glacier, and then, we will see, maybe I’ll give it to a museum,” he said.

One of the newspapers is the January 20 edition of India’s National Herald, announcing the election of Indira Gandhi as the country’s first female prime minister.

The newspapers may have been on board an Air India Boeing 707 named “Kanchenjunga” that crashed on Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966, killing 117.

Another Indian plane, the Malabar Princess, crashed in the 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.

However, one of the most eye-catching discoveries was made in 2013, when a climber found a box of emeralds, rubies and sapphires marked “Made in India” on the mountain.

It is not clear which plane had carried the gems.

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‘India’s First Woman Prime Minister’ — Mont Blanc glacier melt reveals perfectly preserved newspapers from 1966