UTA Flight 772 was a scheduled flight operating from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo to Paris CDG airport in France.
On Tuesday, September 19th, 1989 the aircraft exploded over Niger in the Tenere region of the Sahara Desert. French investigators determined a suitcase bomb planted by Libyan terrorists to be the cause. All 170 people on board died.
Eighteen years later, families of the victims gathered at the crash site to build a memorial.
Due to the remoteness of the location, pieces of the wreckage could still be found at the site.
Building the Memorial
The memorial was created by Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA, an association of the victims’ families along with the help of local inhabitants.
The memorial was built mostly by hand and uses dark stones to create a 200-foot diameter circle
The Tenere region is one of the most inaccessible places on the planet. The stones were trucked to the site from over 70 kilometers away.
The memorial was built over the course of two months in May and June of 2007.
170 broken mirrors, representing each victim, were placed around the circumference of the memorial.
The memorial is anchored by the starboard wing of the aircraft which was trucked to the site from 10 miles away. Workers had to dig up the wing and empty it of sand.
A plaque commemorating each victim is affixed to the wing.
The memorial was partly funded by the $170 million compensation package provided by the Libyan government.
The memorial can be seen from Google Earth.