Air India Flight 245

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Air India Flight 245
Air India L-1049G Super Constellation at Prague Airport.jpg
A similar Lockheed Constellation at Prague Airport in 1961
Date3 November 1950
SummaryControlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) in poor weather
SiteMont Blanc
Aircraft typeLockheed L-749A Constellation
OperatorAir India
Flight originBombay
1st stopoverIstanbul
2nd stopoverGeneva

Air India Flight 245 was a scheduled Air India passenger flight that crashed into Mont Blanc, France on the morning of 3 November 1950.

The plane operating the flight was a Lockheed L-749A Constellation named Malabar Princess, registered VT-CQP. It was piloted by Captain Alan R. Saint, 34, and co-pilot V. Y. Korgaokar. It was carrying 40 passengers and 8 crew on a Bombay-Istanbul-Geneva-London route. While over France, descending towards Geneva Airport, the flight crashed into the French Alps, killing all on board.[1][2][3]


The airplane hit the face of the Rocher de la Tournette at a height of 4,677 m (15,344 ft), on the French side of Mont Blanc.[2] Stormy weather prevented immediate rescue efforts; debris was located by a Swiss plane on 5 November, and rescue parties reached the site two days later.[2] There were no survivors. The last transmission from the aircraft, received by controllers at Grenoble and Geneva, was "I am vertical with Voiron, at 4700 meters altitude." at 10:43 a.m.

Some mail on board the flight was recovered after the crash and was annotated with "Retardé par suite d'accident aerien"; further items of mail were found in 1951 & 1952. On 8 June 1978, a patrol of the French mountain police found letters and a sack at the foot of the Bossons Glacier. Fifty seven envelopes and fifty five letters (without envelopes) were recovered and all bar eight letters were forwarded to their original addressees.[4] Sixteen years later, Air India Flight 101 crashed in almost exactly the same spot.[5] In September 2013, a climber discovered a cache of jewelry that is believed to have been aboard one of these two flights.[6]


  1. ^ "MALABAR PRINCESS". Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "The "Malabar Princess" Catastrophe". Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  4. ^ Muir, Douglas N. "Letters Freed from a Glacier after 28 Years". Stamp Collecting. Vol. 131 No. 10 (26th October 1978), p. 1051.
  5. ^ Mendis, Sean (26 July 2004). "Air India : The story of the aircraft". Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  6. ^ Michael Pearson and Saskya Vandoorne (26 September 2013). "Mysterious cache of jewels turns up atop French glacier". CNN.

Coordinates: 45°49′59″N 6°51′35″E / 45.83306°N 6.85972°E / 45.83306; 6.85972