WWII Transport Plane Playground For Divers
Now home to shrimps, tropical fish and the odd baracuda, a World War Two warplane lies covered in algae, resting on the sea bed. The Douglas Dakota DC-3, which was used as a transporter by a Turkish paratroop regiment in World War Two, today sits at the bottom of the Mediterranean – its twin propeller engines now rusted and covered in coral. The plane, which is 21 metres beneath the surface, was deliberately sunk in waters of Cas, Turkey, in July 2009 to create an underwater playground for divers. The submerged aircraft is now home to schools of tropical fish. Shrimp gobies live in the cool sand in the shadow of the plane and barracudas drift past the wings in search of food.
Underwater photographer Andrey Nekrasov, 42, dived the wreck. He entered the sunken aircraft through the large door in the main hull, which was once used as the main exit for jumping paratroopers. He said: ‘We went on a diving boat to a small island. Directly below us lay the plane – its blurred outlines were visible on the surface of the water. ‘The plane was so well preserved, it looked as it were resting on an airfield runway. It looked unusual and beautiful.’
Mr Nekrasov, from Odessa in Ukraine, and a group of divers from Russia explored the almost perfectly preserved wreckage using no breathing apparatus. Divers wore full face masks and wetsuits, resurfacing every two minutes to breathe.
Mr Neskarov said: ‘Not all free divers were able to reach the plane on their first try. ‘But once everyone in the group had managed to reach the plane we decided to take a group picture. Towards the end of the dive I was able to hold my breath long enough to look inside the cabin.’
The very first Douglas DC-3 took off in 1935. It was one of the most successful airplane models of its time and around 13,000 DC-3s were built. The military variant used by Allied forces was designated the C-47 Skytrain, of which more than 10,000 were produced. The last DC-3 was built in 1945. Some models are still flying as cargo aircraft in developing countries such as Bolivia and Tonga.