Published: Tue, May 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

American sets new record with deepest submarine dive

American sets new record with deepest submarine dive

American explorer Victor Vescovo dived nearly 11km down the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench and spent hours exploring the seafloor over an eight-day expedition.

"It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean", Vescovo said in an interview.

On the deepest dive ever executed into the Mariana Trench, an American investor-turned-explorer discovered what appeared to be plastic bag and other litter almost seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Over 50 years later, Canadian explorer and filmmaker (writer and director of movies such as "Avatar" and the "Titanic") James Cameron took the first solo dive and reached a depth of 35,787 feet (10,908 m)". A total of four dives in eight days made it the first submersible to ever visit the bottom of the Challenger Deep a few times, capturing videos and conducting efficiency tests in the process.

What's more shocking in the report is the epidemic proportions of plastic in the world's oceans, with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date.

Dr. Alan Jamieson, the expedition's chief scientist, stands on top of the submersible the Limiting Factor, which plumbed the depths of the Mariana Trench on missions between April 28 and May 5, 2019.

Because on previous missions these amphipods have been found to have microplastics in their guts, the team collected samples to test how much.

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In among the prawn-like creatures, diver Victor Vescovo also found pollution.

Besides for breaking the record for a manned sub dive in the Mariana Trench, the latest dive down to the deepest point underwater found a heartrending discovery: The existence of the plastic waste on the bottom of the ocean. Long before that, in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh together descended 35,813 feet into the Mariana Trench.

"It's nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Vescovo said.

After the conclusion of the dives, the submersible - built to withstand 1000 bars of pressure - will be given to researchers at science institutions to continue exploring the ocean's depths. The dive is part of an initiative to explore the deepest points in each of the world's five oceans.

It has been funded by Mr Vescovo, a private equity investor, who before turning his attention to the ocean's extreme depths also climbed the highest peaks on the planet's seven continents.

Diving isn't Vescovo's only passion- he's also a climber. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Handout via REUTERS.

"I was proud and honoured to have been invited to be part of Victor's team when it made world history at Challenger Deep".

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