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What's This Airplane Shape Doing in the Middle of the Sahara Desert?

Where: Niger
February 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | ()

Searching Google Maps yields all kinds of "Easter Eggs"—little surprises tucked away but discoverable to those paying close attention. For example, there's planes flying by, Britain's most picturesque streets, and even the world's largest slip and slide. But it's a feature found in the no-man's-land Ténéré region of the Sahara Desert that really raises eyebrows. Enter coordinates 16° 51′ 53.75″ N, 11° 57′ 13.36″ E into Google Maps and find a tiny dot that is actually a massive shape of an airplane.

This, a landmark hand-built of rock and one of the aircraft wings, is actually a memorial to the 170 people on UTA Airlines 772 who perished when a terrorist suitcase bomb exploded the aircraft in 1989.

The flight, a DC-10 traveling from Brazzaville, Congo and N'Djamena, Chad to Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport, carried 155 passengers and 15 crew. The bomb, planted by Libyans, exploded and caused the airplane to break up over the Sahara.

Six Libyans were convicted of the attack, and though the tragedy occurred in 1989 it took until 2007 to get the Libyan government to distribute compensation of $1 million for each of the 170 killed. Part of this money went towards the construction of the memorial, completed later that year.

For more photos of the site, view the imgur and, for further details, check out the Wikipedia page.

[Photos: imgur & Google Maps]

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