SOFIA: The airplane of former Bulgarian communist ruler Todor Zhivkov was submerged in the Black Sea waters near the city of Varna to attract scuba divers and tourists to the sunny coasts of North-Eastern Bulgaria.
The Soviet-made Tupolev-154, ordered especially for the needs of Zhivkov, Eastern Europe’s longest-serving communist leader, was grounded in 1999 but once flew with famous passengers such as former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
The machine was placed at about 22 metres deep in the bay of Varna and 700 metres from the coast to form an artificial reef, Orlin Tsanev, chairman of Black Sea Dive Odesos Association, which ran the project, told Reuters.
“The submerging of the plane aims to make it an attraction and (a place) for training divers,” Tsanev said. Some 30 divers swam round the plane.