A commerical van that was drowned in the 1970s in the Red Sea was recently re-discovered by a pair of scuba divers. Over the past 40 years, it has become a spectacular man-made coral reef.

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Two Israeli scuba divers have spotted a large commercial van completely covered with corals lying at the bottom of the Red Sea in Eilat.

The vehicle was drowned in the 1970s by German researcher Hans Fricke, who came to Israel to study the Red Sea. In one of his experiments, Fricke sought to discover whether sea corals were able to grow in a man-made environment. He drowned several objects in the depths of the water, including his friend’s van.

During Fricke’s stay in Israel, he was ordered to stop his experiments, and thus the drowned van was forgotten.

Udi Hakim, a diver who heard about Fricke’s experiment, decided to try and locate the mysterious vehicle with his partner, Stefan Martinez of the Haifa University.

“We didn’t know the exact location, but we knew it was about 100-120 meters deep,” Hakim said. “Each dive takes between five and six hours. Finally we saw it.”

Hakim added that Fricke’s experiment turned out to have been a phenomenal success. “The vehicle is now full of corals and is an attraction for fish,” he said. “It has turned its surroundings into a prosperous reef.”