On September 19, 1989, international passenger plane UTA Flight 772 was en route from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo to the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Tragically, the aircraft never made it to its destination as a bomb in the cargo hold blew up, causing it to break up over the Sahara desert.
The explosion, which later became known as the deadliest plane-related incidents in Niger, claimed the lives of all the 156 passengers and 14 crew members. French investigators later confirmed that it was an attack by Libyan terrorists.
Fast forward to 2007, Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA, an associated of the victims’ families, created a beautiful memorial for their departed loved ones. Now the said memorial is visible via Google Maps and Google Earth.
Wreckage of UTA Flight 772 as seen in the Tenere region of the Sahara Desert.
All 170 passengers and crew members onboard died.
18 years after the incident, families of the victims began building a memorial on the crash site.
Because the crash happened at a remote location, debris of the aircraft can still be found on the site.
With help from locals, Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA created the memorial.
The 200-foot diameter circle memorial was mostly built by hand.
The dark stones used were brought to the site by truck from more than 70 km away.
The memorial was built from May to June 2007.
170 broken mirrors were placed around the memorial to represent each of the victims.
The plane’s starboard wing was brought to the site from 10 miles away and was used to anchor the memorial.
Eventually, a plaque listing the victims’ names was also installed on the wing.
According to reports, the memorial was partially funded by the $170M compensation given by the government of Libya.
The work is done: The memorial as it appears on the site today.
The memorial is visible both in Google Earth and Google Maps.
In case you are interested to check it online, the memorial’s coordinates are 16°51′ 53, N “11° 57′ 13, E.