On September 19th, 1989, a DC-10 airliner flying from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo to Paris, France, was blown up when six Libyans set off a suitcase bomb. UTA Flight 772, and all 170 of its passengers, crashed down deep in the desert of Niger. Everyone on board perished.
Even though Bonnie Barnes Pugh, the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Chad was killed on board and French officials eventually linked the bombs back to Libyan terrorists, many people considered this a forgotten flight.—at least until family members of the deceased took it upon themselves to make the world remember.
Eighteen years after the tragedy, the families of the victims gathered together to create a memorial at the site of the crash. This memorial, which is made from dark stones and wreckage of the plane, is in the shape of an airplane and can now be seen from Google Earth.
This group, Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA and local residents sorted through wreckage and built this memorial that spans 200 feet in diameter. During May and June of 2007, these workers brought the stone more than 70 miles across the desert and found 170 broken mirrors to symbolize each person who lost their lives. The original starboard wing of the plane is a part of the memorial and supports most of its weight.
The Libyan government paid $170 million in compensation after the accident, part of which went toward funding this memorial project. Thanks to satellite images collected on Google Earth and Google Maps, the rest of the world can also view the memorial and remember the victims of Flight 772 by using the coordinates 16°51’53″N 11°57’13″E.