Two Local Landmarks Now Part of Artificial Reef

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GULF OF MEXICO-- Two retired Air Force F-101 Voodoo fighter jets found a new home on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The jets landed 3.5 miles off the shoreline making it 75 feet to the ocean floor.

The former landmarks called Panama City Marina and Gulf Coast State college home for several decades. Before that, they flew many missions above local waters.

Before diving in these jets went through extensive preparation. Marine Science Agent Scott Jackson says, "They removed nearly two hundred pounds of wire and so you have to remove all the potential pollutants."

These jets are the newest addition to Bay County's reef system.
Jackson also says, "This is another way to recycle the materials, but it's also a way that benefits the environment and it benefits our community."

Divers and fisherman will have to travel about 3 nautical miles off the county pier to begin their underwater exploration.

Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier says, "The enhancement is going to be great for the diving and fishing industry."

Now that they're prepped and ready to go, divers can expect many new marine life to inhabit the area. Jackson adds, "Barracuda will be some of the first fish to explore the area."

The reef program in Bay County continues to grow. County Commissioners are working on 11 other locations for future reefs.