Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A memorial for victims of 1950, 1966 AI crashes in Alps


The Nid d'Aigle (or Eagle's Nest) is well known as the last station on the tramway that takes tourists to the foothills of the Mont Blanc mountain in France.
It is where the mountaineers start their ascent for the icy heights of Alps.
The tiny picturesque village at an altitude of 2,362 metres will now also be known for a monument dedicated to father of India's nuclear programme Homi Jehangir Bhabha and several other Indian, who were among the passengers and crew of the two ill-fated Air India aircraft that crashed on Mont Blanc mountain in 1950 and 1966.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the memorial on Friday, T S Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) at the Ministry of External Affairs, said in New Delhi.
The ‘Malabar Princess’ — a Lockheed L-749A aircraft of Air India — crashed into Rocher de la Tournette on Mont Blanc mountain on November 3, 1950, while flying as AI 245 on the Bombay-Istanbul-Geneva-London route. It had 40 passengers and eight crew members on board and all of them perished on the icy summit ridge of the mountain.
The ‘Kanchenjunga’, another Air India Boeing 707 aircraft, suffered the same fate nearly 16 years later on January 24, 1966. The aircraft flying as AI 101 from Bombay to London crashed into Bossons Glacier on the south-west face of Mont Blanc — not very far from where the ‘Malabar Princess’ had met its end. It had 11 members of crew and 106 passengers. None survived.
Bhabha was one of the ill-fated passengers of the ‘Kanchenjunga’.
20/08/19 Anirban Bhaumik/Deccan Herald

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