Now this is what I call perfect reading for a Sunday morning. There’s something romantic and almost mushy about touching history – I mean, literally touching a piece of history, however significant or insignificant its material value.
Just last week, we read about this Scottish fishing boat skipper who found a message in a bottle, 98 years after it was released, setting a Guinness World Record for the longest time a bottle has been adrift at sea. For the boat’s captain Andrew Leaper, it was like winning the lottery, twice in fact, because he had found a similar bottle five years ago, setting a world record at that time.
And now, a mountain rescue worker duo discovered a Diplomatic Mail bag belonging to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on the Bossons glacier on Mount Blanc in the French Alps, 46 years since the plane in which it was being carried crashed in the mountains.
Well, what are the odds? Incredible, really!
According to an ABC report a vacationing couple in the Alps alerted the rescue workers to the ‘find’ on the glacier, which included pieces of a plane cabin, chairs, electrical cables, a wheel, a shoe and then of course the 50-pound jute bag with ‘Diplomatic Mail’ ‘On India Government’, ‘Ministry of External Affairs’ stamped on it.
The ABC report says the wreckage belonged to a 1966 Boeing 707 flight from Mumbai to New York. All 117 passengers including the Indian director of the Atomic Energy Commission were killed in that crash.
The bag will of course, duly be handed over by the French authorities to the Indian Embassy in Paris.
And for all those curious to know what was in the bag – it’s no treasure, really, at least not in monetary terms. There were mostly newspapers and some other documents. Hmmm… the newspapers might have some archival value, but the soggy Indian diplomatic mail… I am not sure.
And as for the finders of the historic bag… they want no reward. Just a handshake would be nice, they say diplomatically!