The plane, which was donated to the quarry, touched down without a hitch. And in this case, down means really down — at the bottom of the quarry
Work began at 1 p.m., and 30 minutes later, divers were back on the surface, satisfied.
The plane was lowered without a crane; instead it was sunk by divers who slowly released the plane from its flotation devices and guided it down to the floor of the quarry. All in all, it took six divers to lower the plane and one who filmed the occasion.
"We're happy it's down, it's level. It's exactly where we wanted it," said Carter Warden, one of the Gray Quarry's five owners.
The plane, a six-seater, now sits at the bottom of the quarry along with its “crew.” Just to add to the fun and continue the theme of a few fake skeletons that already call the quarry home, the Cessna was sunk with a full crew of six more skeletons.
The aircraft is the latest addition to the other underwater scuba attractions that include a fire truck, a school bus, a tanker truck and various other statues and fish.
Owner Brian Turner assured the sinking was very safe. All those at the quarry were instructed to remain out of the water until the aircraft had settled in its destination.
“You want to minimize the the amount of people in the water because you don't really know what's gonna happen. You don't want people getting tangled, because you've got lines and ropes,” he said.
According to Warden, more than 275 students have been certified at the quarry over the past two years through local dive shops.
In addition to certifying new divers, the quarry regularly hosts fun underwater activities for visitors, such as underwater chess, golf and bowling. Keeping with the season, the next activity planned is underwater pumpkin carving.
The company is in the process of becoming a non-profit business and hopes to begin providing scholarships for veterans to become certified to dive, as other companies have done in the country to provide emotional and mental healing.
Owners Turner and Warden both agree that the peacefulness is a big part of the fun of diving. Not only it is a stress-relief mechanism, the environment is unique.
“I think you just get to see a different kind of world that you don’t normally get to react to. I mean when you have a bluegill just kind of hanging out with you … it’s a different aspect of it,” said Turner, “So I think it’s just a different way to experience an environment that you don’t normally get to see.”
Other videos from the quarry can be found on the company’s website at www.grayquarry.com and on Facebook.