Unique site hoped to benefit environment and tourism
Renowned for its wide-ranging ability to ferry large amounts of cargo and passengers over long distances, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules airplane is one of the most popular for military forces worldwide. In Aqaba, Jordan, one has just assumed a rather unconventional role: an artificial reef.
The Jordanian Air Force owns about a half dozen of the planes, but recently decommissioned one to sink it off the coastal resort city of Aqaba. It is hoped the aircraft will create a habitat for marine life to flourish, a benefit to the environment, but also the economy by drawing tourists to snorkel or dive at the unique underwater site.
Preparations for sinking
Prior to sinking, all the fuel, paint and hazardous materials were removed from the aircraft and then it was dropped off a massive barge about 1,000 ft. from shore. The plane now rests at a depth of approximately 50 ft., making it easily accessible to recreational divers and visible to snorkelers and glass-bottom.
The aircraft was donated to the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, which governs tourism activity along the coastal towns and port areas of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The decommissioned plane is 112 ft. long with a wingspan of 132 ft. When in operation, it could carry more than 120 troops as well as ample cargo and weapons.