Diver breaks record with deepest submarine voyage ever recorded, finds discarded plastic

14 May, 2019, 04:22 | Author: Darnell Taylor

It was the third time humans have dived to the deepest point in the ocean, known as Challenger Deep.

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended almost 6.8 miles (35,853 feet/10,928 meters) to a point in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth.

Down there he found awesome sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.

Previous studies have identified microplastics in the water we drink and the fish we eat, as well as researchers finding it in Antarctica's pristine waters.

The team believes it has discovered four new species of prawn-like crustaceans called amphipods, saw a creature called a spoon worm 7,000m-down and a pink snailfish at 8,000m.

They also collected samples of brightly-coloured rocky outcrops from the seabed.

Thus far, in addition to the Mariana Trench feat, Vescovo has become the first human to dive the deepest points in the Puerto Rico Trench of the Atlantic Ocean (27,480 feet in December 2018), the South Sandwich Trench of the Southern Ocean (24,388 feet in January 2019) and the Java Trench in the Indian Ocean (23,596 feet in April 2019).

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"It is nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Mr Vescovo told BBC News.

Vescovo hoped his discovery of trash in the Mariana Trench would raise awareness about dumping in the oceans and pressure governments to better enforce existing regulations, or put new ones in place. The dive was 52 feet deeper than any previous manned dive, Vescovo's Five Deeps Expedition said.

Eventually Vescovo could see the bottom through one of the acrylic portholes in the titanium hull and brought The Limiting Factor to rest on the ocean floor. The descent beat the standing 2012 record of 35,787 feet by director James Cameron, per CNN. Humanity's impact had reached the deepest parts of the sea floor, too, the team realized.

"We feel like we have just created, validated, and opened a powerful door to discover and visit any place, any time, in the ocean - which is 90 percent unexplored".

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.

Prior to Cameron's dive, the first-ever expedition to Challenger Deep was made by the U.S. Navy in 1960, reaching a depth of 10,912 meters. They also found pollution.

In the recent dive, Walsh accompanied a team up above on the ship, as Vescovo descended alone in a submersible called the DSV Limiting Factor. The pressure at the bottom of the ocean is equal to about 50 jumbo jets piled on top of a person, according to BBC News.

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