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Former Bulgarian leader's plane as a diving attraction!

A Tupolev Tu-154, which used to be the plane of Todor Zhivkov, the communist leader of Bulgaria, has been embedded in the waters of the Black Sea on the north-east coast near Varna. The plane is to act as a tourist attraction and be a magnet for divers to this sunny region. The unit was
Published: May 31, 2011 - 08:59
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 07:28
Former Bulgarian leader’s plane as a diving attraction!

Tu-154_0

A Tupolev Tu-154, which used to be the plane of Todor Zhivkov, the communist leader of Bulgaria, has been embedded in the waters of the Black Sea on the north-east coast near Varna. The plane is to act as a tourist attraction and be a magnet for divers to this sunny region.

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The unit was manufactured in the USSR, especially for Zhivkov, the longest serving communist leader in Eastern Europe. The machine made its last flight in 1999, but in its heyday, it was used by the most prominent members of the communist countries, including Fidel Castro.

The plane was deposited on the bottom, 700m from the coast, at a depth of 22m. The authorities want to use it to start creating an artificial reef. To ensure the new attraction remains safe and environmentally sound, the engines and interior fittings have been removed and larger vessels will be banned from passing within 500m of the wreck. This is another case of using a depleted vessel of enormous size to create an artificial habitat for marine life.

tupolev

According to Orlin Tsanev, president of the Black Sea Dive Odesos Association, which led and supervised the sinking project:

“The sinking of the Tu-154 is intended to raise the attractiveness of the region in the diving community, and the wreck itself is intended to provide a great place for divers to train and deepen their skills. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that this is the largest aircraft in the world that has ever been set on the bottom, so we intend to try to record this fact in the Guinness Book of Records.”

The first divers have already visited the new attraction with great enthusiasm, while many diving clubs from Russia have declared their intention to visit. Around the 49m long wreck, a rapid and dynamic bloom of marine flora and fauna is expected, which will further increase the attractiveness of the site.

Todor Zhivkov was the leader of Bulgaria for 35 years, until the fall of communism in 1989. He died in 1998.

Four years ago, a private company bought Zivkov’s yacht, on which it organises cruises on the Danube.

Source: Reuters

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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