Last October, an "endless" story marked the final chapter of an old YS-11 of Air Aruba. Waiting for its last resting place for many years, he finally found its way to the sea. The 60 ft. long passenger's airplane was brought to the bottom of the ocean. The operation required a lot of energy and patience from the cooperators, but they were pleased to create this new dive site which will enjoy many divers and snorkelers over the years. Dive school S.E.Aruba Fly'n Dive proved its name by managing this operation these last months.
Aruba is well known because of his wide variety of shipwrecks. The history of the Antilla, the position of the Jane C, the mystery of the Star Gerren and the tragedy of the Pedernalis excited many divers over the past decades. Unfortunately only one airplane wreck could be enjoyed on Aruba. However in 1999 hurricane Lenny came by and destroyed the biggest part of this 15 person passengers airplane. It was because of this that S.E.Aruba Fly'n Dive chose to sink the new Airplane just in front of the debris of the old one.
John Oster, owner of Fly'n Dive, saw the airplane many years ago, and thought as a pilot and dive-instructor that it would make a great new dive site for Aruba. The AWA (Aruba Water Sports Association) took possession of the airplane and researched the opportunities to sink the originally Japanese Aircraft. When The AWA had to pay parking fees for the airplane, which stood on the airport for almost 15 years, they had to get rid of the airplane as soon as possible.
July this year the operation could finally start. The AWA took back the airplane, and as a member of the association, John was going to sink it, However it was so busy at John's dive school that the operation was delayed for another two months. The plane was still waiting for its final "take off" when last month Ivan came by. The Aruba Airport Authorities started to discuss the safety of the hundreds of passengers which visit Aruba everyday when an old airplane stands next to the landing strip. They sent a letter to Fly'n Dive that in case of damage, the AWA had to take full responsibility.
It was because of this financial threat that the operation accelerated. The YS-11 could now finally close its books. Under supervision of John a crane lifted the 13 tons Airplane to a road next to the landing strip. A long cortege dragged it for almost a kilometer to a canal between Sonesta Island and the Aruba Shoreline. The crane again lifted the YS-11 on a pontoon. When the Aruba Airport Authorities took notice of the operation, they wanted to perform a final check. For 3 hours the team waited in the burning sun for the inspectors to arrive. When they were finally there, they found out that one of the brakes still contained liquid. This delayed this mission impossible for another day and the pontoon had to move to the port to wait another night. Because this colossus was not originally made for transportation, many cooperators held their hands watching the airplane almost fall of the pontoon when it was hitting the waves of the open ocean.
With the help of a Tele Aruba Journalist, the cooperation of the minister of Tourism; Eddy Briezen and the assistance of the Aruba Seaport Authorities, the airplane now finally could get "seaborn" to enrich Aruba's underwater world. Two enormous concrete anchors were thrown into the water which were connected to the nose wheel of the airplane. A tugboat now pulled the pontoon and the airplane fell of and sunk slowly to a depth of approximately 45 feet.
The nose of the airplane is pointed to the Arabian coastline and lies on a depth of 36 feet. Because of the fact that the tale lies on a depth of 75 feet, it looks like the Ys-11 is starting a "take off" especially because he is still resting on its wheels. The cockpit is still intact and it is possible to dive through the airplane.
This beautiful wreck enriched Aruba's dive sites. The airplane is close to the shoreline and it is easy to be reached by boat. On and around the airplane there is a lot to see for both snorkelers and divers. S.E.Aruba Fly'n Dive organizes two tank dives every week and is pleased to tell you more about the whole operation of sinking the plane. For more information surf to www.searuba.com or write an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org An exclusive DVD of the whole operation can be ordered by writing us an E-mail.