Published on : Tuesday, June 7, 2016
An A300 Airbus jet has been sunk by the Turkish authorities off the Aegean coast with the aim of attracting more diving tourists to the region which otherwise saw a declining rate in overseas visitor numbers.
The Airbus A300 was put under water from the south-western resort town Kuşadası, 50 miles south of Izmir, a popular tourism destination in western Turkey.
The sinking of the giant plane with a wingspan of 44 meters (144 feet) and a length of 54 meters (177 feet) is aimed at promoting artificial reef diving which is hugely popular with experienced divers.
The sinking of the plane will act as reef and become a magnet for underwater flora and fauna. The jet, worth 270,000 Turkish liras (£64,000), had been broken up in Istanbul in April before being sent to the town in Aydin province. It is believed to be the largest plane ever used as an artificial reef.
The mayor of Aydin said she hoped the project would develop underwater tourism in the area. She added that with this project, it might be possible to increase the underwater biodiversity off [the coast of] Kuşadası and to further develop underwater tourism in the area. The number might go up to as many as 250,000 domestic and foreign tourists per year.
Hundreds of people watched the two-and-a-half hour sinking on nearby boats, cheering and blasting their foghorns as the nose of the plane finally went down. The mayor added assertively that they are aware to protect the underwater life.