Club floats idea of 747 dive wreck

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 March, 2009, 12:00am

You may now swim about the cabin?

A local diving club is floating the idea of buying a Boeing 747 abandoned at Chek Lap Kok airport and, with government permission, sinking it off eastern Hong Kong for use as a dive wreck.

Ken Chan Chi-kin, founding member of the local Sandy Bottom Divers Club, said he came up with the plan after he read about the Airport Authority requesting a court to order the sale of the hollowed-out, 70-metre aircraft.

'Instead of having it dumped in a landfill, use it in a green way and make it a dive wreck,' said Mr Chan.

The part-time English teacher and dive instructor, 39, said core group members were contacting agencies, including the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Marine Department, to see if their proposal was possible.

'So far none of the departments said that it is not possible,' he said.

If the plane does come up for sale - and the government is not willing to donate it - the club will try to raise funds to buy the jet.

Mr Chan said there was a 737 in British Columbia waters and parts of jumbo jets submerged near Dubai, but he knew of no 747 dive wrecks.

The Netherlands-born diver is only aware of one dive wreck in Hong Kong, and that was an engine block and a car seat off Sai Kung. 'Originally, that wasn't meant for diving. That was a smuggling accident.'

A 747 dive wreck 'would be unique for divers who come through Hong Kong', Mr Chan added. 'I'm sure they would take their time and go dive at this wreck.' Also, 'it would attract a lot of sea life', he said.

The Airport Authority would only say: 'Any party interested in purchasing the aircraft may notify [the authority]. It is intended that interested parties will be able to indicate their interest to purchase the aircraft once a court order for sale ... is obtained.'

The Marine Department's information section said: 'Regarding the proposal, the Marine Department's main concern is its impact on navigation and marine safety.'


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