American breaks record with deepest submarine dive ever, finds plastic waste

Pablo Tucker
May 14, 2019

His dive took him 16 metres lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960.

United States man Victor Vescovo broke the record for the deepest dive ever in a submarine at a depth of 11 kilometres to the Mariana Trench. Canadian movie maker James Cameron was the last to visit in 2012 in his submarine, reaching a depth of 10,908 metres.

Vescovo, a 53-year-old financier with a naval background, tells CNN Travel his journey to the depths was about testing the limits of human endeavor as much as scientific discovery.

These conditions also made it challenging to capture footage - the Five Deeps expedition has been followed by Atlantic Productions for a documentary for the Discovery Channel.

The team said its scientists were going to perform tests on the creatures found to determine the percentage of plastics found in them.

It's "a travesty that even at our ocean's deepest reaches, humanity's garbage is having an impact", said TV host Rachel Rudwall.

Mr Vescovo is the first person to make multiple dives to the depths of the Mariana Trench, where on one occasion he spent four hours on the bottom.

For more than four hours, alone but unfazed, the American businessman and explorer piloted the vessel down into the abyss of the Challenger Deep, the 11km-long depression at the southern tip of the Mariana Trench that contains the deepest known area of the planet's sea bed.

"So far, we've made up something like 150,000 square kilometers of deep sea floor now - and we're only halfway through it". As well as the Mariana Trench, it's now completed surveys of the Atlantic Ocean's Puerto Rico Trench, the South Atlantic's South Sandwich Trench and the Java Trench in the Indian Ocean.

Humans have reached the ocean's extreme depths for the 3d time, almost 11km (seven miles) down the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. Next, he will attempt to reach the bottom of the Arctic Ocean's Molloy Deep.

In the last three weeks, the expedition has made four dives in the Mariana Trench in Mr Vescovo's submarine, DSV Limiting Factor, collecting biological and rock samples.

Victor Vescovo, a private equity investor, climbed the highest peaks on the planet's seven continents before turning his attention to the ocean's extreme depths.

"Our team had to pioneer new camera systems that could be mounted on the submersible, operate at up to 10,000m below sea level and work with robotic landers with camera systems that would allow us to film Victor's submersible on the bottom of the ocean". The group is using a submersible called Limiting Factor to complete its challenge. There is also growing evidence that they are carbon sinks, playing a role in regulating the Earth's chemistry and climate.

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