Plane makes planned plunge in Athens - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Plane makes planned plunge in Athens

ATHENS, TEXAS (KLTV) - From nose, to tail, the Beechcraft Hawker 125-600 stretched 60 feet with a nearly 50 foot wingspan. It sat on the banks of the Athens Scuba Park pond waiting for take-off.

Calvin Wilcher and his wife, Shannon, purchased the plane to add to their growing scuba diving collection. The couple's been collecting scuba wreckage for more than 20 years. The Beechcraft is the second plane to be submerged in their pond.

"We have three sailboats, four cabin cruisers, 16 speed boats, nine motorcycles, a d 210-foot cave system, and about eight fish," said Calvin Wilcher.

Calvin and a team of divers helped taxi the plane out onto the water, and were onboard to ride it to the bottom of the pond.

"It's fun to dive," said Bill Cherry, a scuba instructor. Cherry said the plane will also be used to help train other divers and rescue workers for recovery operations.

It took 10 weeks to put the plane together (it was shipped in pieces) and to clean out all of the hazardous materials.

Two big rigs tugged the plane into the water where it eventually sank with divers onboard.

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