Crash site Mont Blanc, France
Airline Air India
Aircraft Boeing 707  –  VT-DMN  –  Kanchenjunga
Route Bombay  –  Delhi  –  Beirut  –  Geneva  –  London  –  New York
Crew 11  –  0 survivors
Passengers 106  –  0 survivors


The crash

The plane took off from Beirut as scheduled. At 07:00 the pilot reported to Geneva ACC that they were passing Mont Blanc. Two minutes later the plane crashed in the Glacier des Bossons on the southwest side of Mont Blanc in France at an elevation of 4,750 metres.
The reason for the crash was that the pilot miscalculated his position in relation to Mont Blanc, and the pilot also misunderstood the controller at the Geneva ATC who tried to correct the position. The plane therefore started the descent too early.
The wreckage was scattered over a wide area in rough terrain.


The mail

The plane carried mail from India to various countries in Europe (France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland is known). It seems as if only a small part of the mail was recovered.
A rescue helicopter brought down a small amount of mail to the French post office in Chamonix. Later some more mail was found and forwarded via Chamonix (March and September is known).

In 2008 a climber found some Indian newspapers.

On 21 August 2012 mountain rescue workers found a 9 kg. jute bag marked “On India Government Service, Diplomatic Mail, Ministry of External Affairs”. An official with the Indian Embassy in Paris took custody of the mailbag, which was found to be a “Type C” diplomatic pouch meant for newspapers, periodicals, and personal letters. The bag was flown back to New Delhi on a regular Air India flight.

In September 2013 a French alpinist found a metal box with the Air India logo. The box contained rubies, sapphires and emeralds worth more than $300,000, which he handed in to the police to be returned to the rightful owners .

Only two items addressed to the Nordic countries are known – both are shown below.




French handstamp.
Size: 92 x 28 mm.

Recovered correspondence from Air India air plane accident
Chamonix 24-1-1966






Examples of mail

Cover from a Norwegian missionary in Chhabghati, West Bengal, India with postmark dated 18.1.66. The cover was repaired with French resealing tape and on the back is the French crash handstamp type A. On both front and back of the cover are several strikes of the CHAMONIX postmark dated 24-9 1966 (more than 6 months after the crash).
Thiesen Collection.


Airletter from India to Stockholm, Sweden with crash handstamp type A. No further details are known.
Sold at the Harmer London auction December 2001.
Unknown Collection.