mont blanc writing 117 die in Air India tragedy
Gerard Devoussoux, a mountain guide who was one of the first to arrive at the disaster scene, said: “Another 15 metres (50ft) and the plane would have missed the rock. It made a huge crater in the mountain.
“Everything was completely pulverised.
The search was eventually called off after bad weather and poor visibility hampered rescue efforts.
Relatives of the passengers involved in the disaster were in tears after airport officials broke the news of the crash.
Robert Bruce, from Tooting, who was waiting for his parents to arrive, said: “I am so choked I cannot even cry. I will just go home and collapse.
“As far as I am concerned my world has come to an end.”
The cause of the crash is not yet known and it is expected to take several days before all of the bodies are recovered.
The plane was a few minutes behind schedule as it was preparing to make its descent.
But the captain of the Air India Boeing 707, who was one of the airline’s most experienced pilots, had radioed the control tower a few minutes earlier to report that his instruments were working fine and the aircraft was flying at 19,000ft (5,791 metres) at least 3,000ft (514 metres) higher than the Mont Blanc summit.