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Air India crashes on Mont Blanc

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Air India crashes on Mont Blanc

Old 9th Jul 2003, 18:09
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Air India crashes on Mont Blanc

I've just read the book "Crash au Mont Blanc" by Francois Rey (in French) about the 2 Air India accidents on Mont Blanc in 1950 and 1966.

The first involved a Constellation, which crashed just below the summit of Mont Blanc as it began its descent towards Geneva. The second accident was a 707 which crashed in precisely the same spot 16 years later, also while descending towards Geneva. Both accidents happened in mid-winter, and there were no survivors in either case.

It seems that the 2nd accident was shrouded in a lot of secrecy. The accident investigation was fairly superficial. Some of the mountain guides involved say that the black box was recovered - but officially it wasn't. The guides also say that their main task was to find a briefcase belonging to a nuclear scientist who was on board. There was no attempt to recover the bodies, which to this day are being found at the bottom of the glacier des Bossons, which flows from the summit of Mont Blanc to the town of Chamonix.

There was a strong rumour at the time that the real cause of the accident was a collision with an Italian military aircraft. A team of journalists and guides made an unauthorised expedition to the crash site a few weeks after the accident, and claim that there was clear evidence of two different aircraft. They recovered debris, and filmed the site, but when they came down from the mountain they were arrested and their films and debris were seized.

The author claims that all the official records relating to this accident are classified, and that the people involved at the time either refuse to speak or claim they have forgotten - although he says they haven't forgotten the 1950 accident.

Does anyone know any more? The book was written a few years ago.
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 18:35
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The scientist who was killed was Homi Jehangir Bhabha, father of India's nuclear program.

I can find no evidence of any cover up or that the investigation was anything but normal.
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 21:46
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Thanks for the links, ORAC.

It is a bit odd, though.... the pilot was at FL190, and told to maintain that height unless he could "descend VMC one thousand on top". He was also told that he was 5 miles from Mont Blanc.

That means that in probably around one minute after confirming the instruction to maintain FL190 or descend in VMC, the pilot descended to 15500 ft and hit a mountain....

It seems a surprising mistake.
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