New Fishing Reef Courtesy of the U.S. Navy

The USS Oriskany is on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Navy divers from Panama City's Naval Support Activity detonated explosives aboard it to send the retired aircraft carrier on a 212-foot plunge. They're trying to create the world's largest intentionally created reef.

The rusting 888-foot ship took about five hours to sink after the detonations, which happened around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Clouds of brown and gray smoke rose in the sky after more than 500 pounds of plastic explosives went off and could be heard up to a mile away.

The Oriskany, nearly three football fields in length, is the first ship set for reefing under the Navy's pilot program to dispose of old warships.

The sinking cost $20 million.

A 2004 Florida State University study estimates Escambia County will see $92 million a year in economic benefits from an artificial reef.

The old carrier was sunk 60 miles due west from the Panama City Pass and about 22 miles south-southeast of Pensacola.


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