Tuesday, January 17, 2006

B.C. divers sink Boeing 737 as artificial reef


January 14, 2006

CHEMAINUS, British Columbia -- A Boeing 737 made its final descent on Saturday – 20 metres deep into the waters off the east coast of Vancouver Island.

Cranes slowly lowered the decommissioned plane into the ocean off Chemainus, about 70 kilometres north of Victoria, slightly more than a month after Environment Canada gave final approval to a plan dreamed up by diving fans.

The Artificial Reef Society of B.C. sunk the plane to create an artificial reef in an area that doesn't have much marine life.

The society expects the new reef to be home to dozens of species of sea life within a couple of years, which it hopes will, in turn, lure more divers.

Boaters were on hand to watch the lowering of the plane, a 1970s-era Boeing that had not flown since 2001.

The plane, which had been stripped down, weighs 15 tonnes and measures 30 metres long.
It was to be placed on 4.5-metre high stands on the ocean bottom so divers could swim under it.

The diving society, which began work on the project in 2002, has used ships to create six other artificial reefs in the province.

For the latest project, it received approval from six local First Nations groups as well as Environment Canada.

The group said the plane's resting place was chosen for its lack of sea life, blaming a century of forest-industry debris.



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