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|
Air India Flight 245 was a scheduled Air India passenger flight that crashed into Mont Blanc, France, on 3 November 1950. On the morning of 3 November 1950, the Lockheed L-749A Constellation Malabar Princess registration VT-CQP, piloted by chief pilot Alan R. Saint 34 Years, British and co-pilot V. Y. Korgaokar, carrying 40 passengers and 8 crew on the route Bombay-Istanbul-Geneva-London, while flying over France, crashed into the Mont Blanc mountain, killing all on board.
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.
The "Malabar Princess" hit the face of the Rocher de la Tournette 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, rescue parties reached it another two days later. There were no survivors.
Sixteen years later, Air India Flight 101 crashed in almost exactly the same spot. In September 2013, a climber discovered a cache of jewellery that is speculated to have been aboard one of these two flights.
Pop culture references
- The crash inspired a 1952 novel in French, La neige en deuil ("The Snow in Mourning"), by Henri Troyat.
- The 1956 film The Mountain starring Spencer Tracy was based on the novel.
- In the 2001 movie Amélie, the title character reads a newspaper article about alpinists finding, by chance, a mailbag on Mont Blanc and later realising it came from the Malabar Princess that crashed 40 years earlier. This news inspires Amélie to do good to the lonely concierge, by faking a final love letter from her late husband, supposedly found inside that mailbag.
- The 2004 movie Malabar Princess is about a young boy called Tom who is sent to live with his grandfather in the French Alps after his mother dies on an excursion with her husband. Tom becomes friends with Benoît, and the two search for the remains of the Malabar Princess.
- "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.
- 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.
- "Malabar Princess". Family Education. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2009.