Father-daughter duo from Odisha dive into an aircraft 55 feet below the sea in Jordan

Dubai: Dubai-based Odia father-daughter scuba diving duo have achieved a unique feat again. Priyadarshee Panigrahi and his 13-year-old daughter Tisya Panigrahi dived into the Hercules C-130 aircraft which lies around 55 feet deep in the Red sea in Aqaba, Jordan last week.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft and has been serving the military establishments of more than 70 countries since the 1950s. This particular aircraft was donated by the Royal Jordanian Air Force. It was sunk on the 16th of November 2017 to make an artificial reef. All hazardous materials like fuel oil and paint were removed before the sinking 300 meters from shoreline in a depth of around 55 feet. The Hercules aircraft is an impressive sight with a length of 30 meters and a wingspan of 40 meters. The structure has now become an artificial reef and attracts marine life from fish to corals. It is a new home for many fish.

Tisya and Priyadarshee entered the aircraft through the middle section and spent some time in the cockpit. In a video of this dive, Tisya was seen fiddling with the controls of this huge aircraft in the cockpit.

Entering wrecks like these requires special briefings on safety procedures and both father and daughter were made aware and adequately trained on wreck diving.

Priyadarshee said it was a surreal sight to see a big aircraft at the bottom of the sea, teeming with marine life. He said, ‘It’s a very different and exciting experience to dive into an aircraft which would have flown thousands of feet up in the air before resting at the bottom of the sea’.

Tisya felt it was a very unique dive. Seeing the fishes inside the aircraft and entering the cocking and handling the controls was a very memorable experience according to Tisya.

Aqaba is on the Red Sea and the Red Sea is world renowned for its clear waters, pristine corals and variety of fishes.

Priyadarshee and Tisya are noted scuba divers based in Dubai. They happen to be among the very few advanced father-daughter scuba diving duos from India. Priyadarshee who is the head of a large Indian multinational corporation in Dubai, also happens to be the son of former minister and Member of Parliament from Odisha Late Sriballav Panigrahi. Tisya is a grade 8 student of Raffles World Academy, Dubai.

Recently this diving-duo were in the news because of their unique underwater message on the occasion of COP 28, the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference which was held in Dubai and also because of their night dive with Reef Manta Rays.

This Odia father-daughter diving duo have also garnered eyeballs and praise for various other reasons like sending Nuakhai wishes from under the sea in Aug’21 and diving with sharks in December’22. Earlier in April’23, inspired by Tisya, Priyadarshee dived 100 feet in Malaysia to secure his advanced scuba diving license, joining a very exclusive club of advanced scuba diving father-daughter duos.

It’s worth noting that Tisya became Odisha’s youngest scuba diver in 2020 (at the age of 10). Since then, she also became the state’s youngest junior advanced scuba diver in 2022 when she dived 70 feet on her 12th birthday.

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