Group plans to submerge old jet as scuba diving attraction

SPARKS, Nev. - A former Nevada Air National Guard fighter jet is headed for the bottom of the Sparks Marina to become an attraction for scuba divers.

The twin-engine F-4 Phantom was loaded on a truck Friday and will be moved from Stead to a storage location. There, final repairs will be made so it will be safe for divers after it is sent to the bottom of the former Helms Pit in about a month.

''Scuba divers like something to look at,'' said Kevin Schwartz, president of Tropical Penguin Scuba and an organizer of the jet's move.

''We don't have tropical fish here in Nevada,'' he said.

The Tahoe Sierra Dive Club is also involved in the project.

The city of Sparks had agreed to allow a dive park in the marina and future plans include adding a school bus and other items that might be of interest.

''We're trying to create an underwater park in addition to what's above ground to give divers a destination site when they're puttering around down there,'' Parks and Recreation Director Stan Sherer said.

The F-4 was crash-landed in April 1988 at what was then Reno Cannon International Airport, after the nose wheel collapsed and came through the floor board.


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