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Mountaineer who discovered treasure trove of precious gemstones lands a £127,000 share of the loot

A French climber has received a six-figure payout eight years after discovering a trove of precious gems on Mont Blanc - thought to date from a plane crash in 1966.

The collection of emeralds, rubies and sapphires worth a total of £257,000 was found inside a locked box on the Bossons Glacier on the northern slope of Mont Blanc by a mountaineer in 2013.

The climber handed the collection over to authorities who launched a search for relatives of the owner, who is thought to have perished in an Air India crash on the mountain some 50 years ago that claimed the lives of 117 people.

But after an eight-year mission no relative could be found, so the value of the loot will now be split between the climber and the local council - with the gemstones set to be displayed in a local museum.  

A climber who found a trove of emeralds, sapphires and rubies (left and right) on the side of Mont Blanc has been given a payout of £127,000 eight years after making the discovery

'The stones have been shared this week' in two equal lots valued at around 150,000 euros each, 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.

Two Air India planes crashed into Mont Blanc in 1950 and in 1966.

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 crash killed 117 people including the pioneer of India's nuclear programme, 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.

The box is thought to have come from an Air India plane that crashed on the Bossons Glacier on the north slope of Mont Blanc (file image) in 1966, killing 117 people