An S-130 military aircraft has been sunk in Jordan’s Gulf of Aqaba, following orders from the Kingdom’s King Abdullah. The hope is for the aircraft to form the basis of a coral growth station and act as a tourist attraction for divers in the coastal city.
The plane has had an interesting life, having started out in the military in 1956, where it was used by the Royal aircraft to carry out several flights. The Hercules has been sunk in a very easily accessible location, not far from the wreck of the Cedar Pride, and only a few meters from its fellow automobile, a tank, who was dumped at sea decades ago to help form another atypical habitat for coral.
Aqaba, which lies at the tip of the Red Sea, is a popular tourist destination, with its warm waters and rich marine life attracting divers from across the world. Divers were allowed to visit the sunken aircraft almost immediately after its sinking. The doors of the aircraft have been removed providing easy access to the cavernous interior, approximately 12m long and 3m wide, and well-lit thanks to the open doors and large array of cockpit windows. The flight deck is also accessible, both from the interior and through the cockpit windows, allowing for plenty of photo opportunities with the skeletal captain.
It’s a fun-for-all-the-family excursion which divers of all experience levels can enjoy, while their non-diving partners can snorkel above them. There’s plenty to see of the aircraft itself, and divers who wish to make more of the experience can visit the tank, or explore the coral and seagrass of the surrounding area which – thanks to the mild current – will no doubt aid the development of coral around the structure of the wreck itself.
Not a scuba diver? You can still enjoy the view either by riding on a glass-bottomed boat or on a speed boat tour.