09/26/2013 01:18 pm ET Updated Sep 26, 2013

Mont Blanc Climber Finds Mysterious Box Of Treasure On Glacier

A French climber working his way across a glacier in the French Alps reportedly stumbled upon a box filled with precious gems worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The alpinist, who has not been identified, discovered the treasure while exploring the Bossons Glacier off the Mont Blanc peak, near Chamonix, France, earlier this month, according to The Local. The climber recovered a metal box containing bags of sapphires, rubies and emeralds, worth up to $332,000.

The mysterious jewels are believed to have come from one of a pair of Air India plane crashes that occurred on Mont Blanc, one in 1950 and another in 1966, according to the Agence France-Presse. Both crashes scattered debris in the area, and in 2010 a British college student studying global warming on Mont Blanc found a bag full of mail from the 1950 crash, reports The Telegraph.

The climber who found the jewels turned them in to French authorities, who are working to see if they can identify the original owners, according to AFP.

"This was an honest young man who very quickly realized that they belonged to someone who died on the glacier," local police chief Sylvain Merly told AFP. "He could have kept them but he preferred to give them to the police."

The highest peak in western Europe, Mont Blanc has the highest fatality rate of any mountain on the continent, but it remains popular with amateurs, notes The Telegraph. In March, a British father and son fell to their deaths while hiking a trail overlooking the Bossons glacier, the Independent reported at the time.



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