I received an email saying “check this out – it is on Google Maps and looks like Google Maps shows yet another doomed flight”. I assumed this was another email about the missing Malaysian plane Flight MH370 as there are plenty of those email doing their round. So after checking that the link was indeed Google Maps, I clicked on it and this is what I saw:
Before dismissing it as another one of those “MH370 Malaysian plane found” fakes I looked more carefully and I was definitely in Google Maps and they would not have fake pic in their mapping system. So why would a plane image be embossed into the dessert sand ?
I did some research and discovered it is not a fake and has a fascinating and tragic story behind it. And No, its not Flight MH370 but another tragic plane disaster.
UTA flight 772
On 19th September 1989, UTA flight 772 was on its way to Paris from Brazzaville. The flight did not make it as a bomb was detonated on the flight killing all 155 passengers and 15 crew. The plane crashed over the Sahara Desert. 6 Libyans were tried in abstanita and convicted of placing and detonating a suitcase bomb which was stored in the front cargo hold of the plane.
On the 18th anniversary of the tragedy, families of the victims gathered to build a memorial. But this no ordinary memorial as the location of the plane crash was in the middle of the dessert. This did not deter the family and over a two month period trucks drove into the dessert and together with the local people they created this memorial which from Google Maps looks like the pic above.
It is a life-size replica of the plane that is created with stones set into the desert sand. surrounding the diameter are 170 broken mirrors that represent those passengers and crew that died that day. The memorial is set inside a compass and at the northern point is part of the wing that bears the names of the victims.
The memorial was financed by a 170-million-dollar compensation fund provided by the Libyan government.
Photos credit: Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc