India Abroad

Human Remains Found In The Alps Suspected To Be From Bhabha's 1966 Flight

| July 30 , 2017 , 15:13 IST

A climber recently found human remains on Mount Blanc in the French Alps which are suspected to be from either of the two Air India plane crashes that took place there 50 years ago, out of which one flight killed Homi Bhabha, the father of the Indian nuclear programme.

Fascinated by plane accidents, climber Daniel Roche had spent years combing the Bossons Glacier in the Alps looking for remains before he made the discovery on Thursday.

"I had never found any significant human remains before," he told media as he found a hand and the upper part of a leg.

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Regarding the recent remains found, Stephane Bozon from the local police said, "These remains are probably not from the same person. They are probably from passengers, but between the two aircrafts, it's difficult to say".

Two major crashes had taken place at the location, killing a total of 150 people. An Air India flight named 'Malabar Princess' had crashed on the mountain in November 1950, killing 48 people after which an Air India Boeing 707 named Kanchenjunga crashed on the mountain summit on January 24, 1966, killing all 117 people on board.

The 1966 flight had on board Homi Bhabha, a physicist, and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, who was traveling to Vienna for a conference. The circumstances of the flight crash of 1966 have been shrouded in mystery as the crash killed Bhabha when he was at a crucial conjecture of evolving India's nuclear programme.

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After receiving news about the discovery of the human remains, aviation secretary R N Choubey has asked Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani to rush to the spot.

"This AI official will get in touch with local investigators and the Indian embassy. We'll take the steps required," Choubey told TOI.

In the past, other remains from the two AI planes have also been found across an area of more than 1 km. Items found include bags of diplomatic mail, camera, gemstones, gloves, and keys.