Todor Zhivkov’s plane to be turned into artificial reef near Varna

23 May

An old Tu-154 government plane, which belonged to Bulgaria’s communist leader Todor Zhivkov, will be submerged close to the coastal city of Varna and will be turned into an artificial reef for training underwater divers and diving fans, captain Bogdan Bogdanov, who heads the operation of submerging the aircraft, told FOCUS – Varna Radio.
On Monday the aircraft was transported to the seaside city and on May 25, weather permitting, it will be submerged in the Black Sea at about 2 sea miles off the coast, opposite Saints Konstantin and Elena resort. The 30-ton plane, which was produced in 1971, will be sunk at a depth of 22-23 meters. Its maximum height is 11 meters and it will be possible for small vessels to sail in the area at a depth of about 10 meters at the most. The aircraft was thoroughly cleaned and everything, including its engines, was taken out to prevent seawater pollution.
“The old government airplane will turn into an artificial reef where divers will be free to jump,” said captain Bogdan Bogdanov, who is also chairman of the Bulgarian Chamber of Shipping.
According to him the plane will become an underwater attraction. He opined it would attract not only Bulgarian, but also foreign divers. This is the first submerging operation Bulgaria carries out and the aircraft might turn out to be the largest one ever scuttled in the world.