On the 19th of September, 1989, UTA Flight 772 broke up over the Sahara Desert due to a bomb explosion at an altitude 35,100 ft. The wreckage was found near the towns of Bilma and Ténéré in Niger, with a death toll of 170 (155 passengers and 15 crew members). The terrorist attack was caused by six Libyans. Eighteen years later, the families of the victims came together to create a tribute to their lost loved ones at the crash site.
Since the location was remote, people were not easily available to collect the pieces of the wreckage. The association of families worked together with the locals to create a hand-made memorial using black stones to create a 200-ft diameter circle. The stones had to be brought in trucks from as far away as seventy kilometers due to the remoteness of the region. 170 broken mirrors, representing those who perished in the crash, were used to decorate the circumference of the circle. The starboard wing of the plane was collected 10 miles away from the site, dug up, cleared of sand, and brought to the memorial by truck where it was used to anchor the memorial. The memorial took two months to complete (May – June 2007). Typing coordinates 16°51’53″N, 11°57’13″E into Google Maps reveals the memorial.
Pictures of the work done to complete the sight are shown below.
Families of the victims gathering at the site
Collecting the wreckage
Black stones were laid out with the help of locals
The 200-ft diameter outline of the memorial
Broken mirrors were used to decorate the border of the memorial
170 mirrors were used, representing the number of victims
Anchorage of the memorial
The main body of the memorial
The memorial as seen from above
The memorial as seen on Google Maps