(CNN)– Coming across this unexpected shape at the bottom of the sea is enough to take your breath away, so it’s a good idea to have a tank full of air strapped to your back.
The respected vintage Lockheed Martin L1011 Tristar aircraft, with its three wing- and tail-fin-mounted engines, would be a sight to behold in the air or on the ground, as well as deep below the surface of the Red Sea. between fish and coral.
The derelict jet, sunk in 2019 to create an artificial reef to support marine life, has been photographed by American underwater photographer Brett Holzer in a series of images capturing the haunting spectacle created by this water plane.
According to Holzer, the plane has become a haven for shipwreck explorers and underwater photographers.
It was first registered in the 1980s and was in service for a number of airlines, including, according to Planespotters.net, Royal Jordanian, Portugal’s TAP Air and Sweden’s Novair, before, after a final stint at Luzair, another Portuguese airline, was abandoned in the early 2000s.
After apparently being forgotten for years at King Hussein International Airport near the shores of the Red Sea, the plane was sunk in Jordan’s Gulf of Aqaba to encourage diving tourism and coral growth. , according to the Jordanian news agency Petra.
Holzer says it is between 15 and 28 meters deep, with the tail of the plane at the deepest end.
“The cockpit is the shallowest part of the sinkhole and faces the beach at about 13 meters,” Holzer told CNN Arabic.
floating on a plane
Professional divers can enter the aircraft through two doors located behind the cabin.
Inside the Tristar’s fuselage the center row seats were removed to allow better access for divers, but otherwise the plane is surprisingly well preserved.
“Divers can go to the rear to the last two exit gates, which are at a depth of 28 meters,” says Holzer. “Or they can exit through the middle doors, which are at a depth of about 20 meters.”
The cabin, the rows of seats on both sides, the restrooms and the galleys are still in place, allowing divers to float around a virtually intact commercial airliner, the photographer says.
After three years in the water, the plane’s wings are now home to numerous soft corals. The fuselage is surrounded by huge sponges populated by a wide variety of marine life.
“It’s not uncommon to find octopuses feeding near coral heads,” says Holzer. You can also see puffer fish.
The real thrill, he says, is the uniqueness of exploring a passenger plane at the bottom of the sea.
“This adventure offers a realistic diving experience inside a real commercial airliner,” says Holzer.
His underwater photos have been a hit on Instagram, and some of his followers are now planning their own visits to the Gulf of Aqaba to see the wreck.
However, Holzer stresses that this adventure may not be for everyone.
Due to its depth, he says, divers will have to be fully qualified professionals. She also recommends booking in advance, as the visit requires a boat.