Turkey has sunk small planes off its coast to create artificial reefs before, but on Saturday it went big — A300 Airbus jet big — in its latest move to generate diving tourism.
Authorities sunk the 177-foot-long plane into water near the Kuşadası resort in Aydin province to nestle the jet roughly 75 feet under the ocean’s surface, where sea plants and wildlife will start to populate the plane. The local government bought the plane for 270,000 lira (almost $100,000) for the express purpose of sinking it, reports Agence France-Presse.
“Our goal is to make Kuşadası a centre of diving tourism. Our goal is to protect the underwater life. And with these goals in mind, we have witnessed one of the biggest wrecks in the world.” said Aydin’s mayor, Özlem Çerçioğlu.
The airbus “wreck” is considered to be the largest plane sunk voluntarily to become an artificial reef. It took over two hours to sink, and hundreds cheered during the event as they watched from nearby boats.
Turkey’s tourism industry has struggled recently, especially after recent attacks in the country.