Air India Flight 245
A similar Lockheed Constellation at Prague Airport in 1961
|Date||3 November 1950|
|Summary||Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) in poor weather|
|Aircraft type||Lockheed L-749A Constellation|
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.
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. 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. 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. Sixteen years later, Air India Flight 101 crashed in almost exactly the same spot. In September 2013, a climber discovered a cache of jewelry that is believed to have been aboard one of these two flights.
- "MALABAR PRINCESS". Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- "The "Malabar Princess" Catastrophe". Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- Muir, Douglas N. "Letters Freed from a Glacier after 28 Years". Stamp Collecting. Vol. 131 No. 10 (26th October 1978), p. 1051.
- Mendis, Sean (26 July 2004). "Air India : The story of the aircraft". Airwhiners.net. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- Michael Pearson and Saskya Vandoorne (26 September 2013). "Mysterious cache of jewels turns up atop French glacier". CNN.