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Military aircraft Soko J-21 Jastreb Croatia's newest artificial reef

Off the coast of the town of Trogir in Croatia, at the bottom of Jeliniak Bay, local divers have sunk a Soko J-21 Jastreb military aircraft. Sunk as an artificial reef, the Soko J-21 Jastreb has become the latest attraction for diving tourists. After a long service in the air force the aircraft gained a
Published: August 19, 2021 - 12:35
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:05
Military aircraft Soko J-21 Jastreb Croatia’s newest artificial reef

Off the coast of the town of Trogir in Croatia, at the bottom of Jeliniak Bay, local divers have sunk a Soko J-21 Jastreb military aircraft.

Sunk as an artificial reef, the Soko J-21 Jastreb has become the latest attraction for diving tourists. After a long service in the air force the aircraft gained a new life on the seabed. The idea of sinking the military machine came from Joško Kandiji of Blue Nautica.

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We took it over from the Croatian Aerospace Centre in Velika Gorica. The Ministry of Defence had written the aircraft off and it was not used. Jastreb had no engine and was damaged. It also never took part in any activities during or after the war. Joško Kandiji said.

After acquiring it from the army, the aircraft was properly prepared for sinking. The new owners slightly refreshed the dilapidated “hawk”, and also properly groomed it for the final flight. It is always necessary to remove environmentally harmful materials and elements dangerous to divers before sinking.

In the early 1990s, our people found this plane in front of the barracks. It had stood there in the meadow for at least 30 years. Of course, time has done its work. So we refreshed it and found a new place for it Kandiji explains.

The sinking went smoothly and the Soko J-21 Jastreb landed on the sea bed. Now, at a depth of 10 m, it is waiting for new inhabitants and diving tourists.

Soko J-21 Jastreb

It is a single-seat, attack and reconnaissance jet aircraft. It was designed and built in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1960s. After numerous wartime episodes, the few surviving aircraft were sent to the Aeronautical Technical Centre in Veľká Gorica. With the withdrawal of the Yugoslav People’s Army from barracks throughout Croatiaearly 1991, one damaged Soko J-21 Jastreb was left to rot in a meadow for another 30 years, until the heroes of today’s history took it over.

Jeliniak Bay is an ideal place for this type of attraction. It has a sandy bottom and is quiet and calm. At the bottom of the reservoir there is also an underwater Way of the Cross, which includes 52 statues. The site is perfect for beginner divers, who come to the region in large numbers.

Photo: Goran Les


Malta is undoubtedly a great place for a diving trip. Very diverse in terms of diving sites and level of difficulty. You can read more about diving in Malta in the article by Carollina Wells, which we published in issue 17. DIVERS24 quarterly! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while the printed version can be purchased from our webshop.

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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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