aircraft have been submerged off Bang Tao Bay in Phuket’s Talang
district in the Andaman Sea to form a new artificial coral reef and diving site.
16-18 meters deep area where the fleet was sunk has a sand bed, and is one kilometre away from the natural coral reef and the Bang Tao
The fleet of sunken
aircraft consists of four Douglas C-47 Dakota Skytrains and six Sikorsky S-58T helicopters. They once
belonged to the Royal Thai Air Force and were housed at an air base in Lopburi Province. The For Sea Foundation initiated the project to
create an artificial coral reef following operations to fix natural coral reefs that were damaged by the devastating Tsunami that hit Asia in late
“To lure visitors to a new diving site, the artificial reefs need some sort of ‘star power’, like the King Cruiser wreck diving spot in Phuket, for
instance. The idea of having a fleet of old and unused aircraft under the sea is equally irresistible,” said
Mr. Settapan Buddhani, TAT’s Phuket Office Director.
It took two years for the agencies concerned to complete the feasibility study on the environmental effects of the project and determining the
best location to sink the fleet. It was found that the aluminum body of each
aircraft is non-corrosive, while their shapes do not obstruct water
currents. Most importantly, it was found that they do not pose any harm to the ecological system.
The diving spot is expected to help boost Phuket’s strategic position as a world-class marine tourism centre with this new fascinating dive site.
Corals will form a new reef along each craft, marine fauna will have a new habitat and the ecological system in the area will
Ms. Cathleeya McIntosh, one of
Thailand’s best known actresses and an experienced diver herself, has
been chosen as the project’s Goodwill Ambassador.
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