Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

James Marshall
May 14, 2019

Dallas businessman Victor Vescovo became the deepest diving human in history when his Five Deeps Expedition reached the bottom of the Pacific Ocean's Challenger Deep on April 28, the expedition disclosed Monday.

Making multiple trips almost 11 kilometers, or seven miles, to the ocean floor - one of them four hours in duration - Vescovo set a record for the deepest solo dive in history, his team said.

As well as four new species that could offer clues about the origins of life on Earth, Vescovo observed a plastic bag and candy wrappers at the deepest point on the planet.

In an interview with CNN, the American diver said his team were going to perform tests on the creatures to determine the percentage of plastics found in them.

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.

His team believes they discovered four new prawn-like species in total.

In the depths, during those five dives, they discovered red and yellow rocky outcrops that could be chemical deposits or bacterial mats, which are made by chemosynthetic microbes, meaning they can convert carbon-containing molecules into organic matter.

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

"It is nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Vescovo told the BBC. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Handout via REUTERS.

"We dove to the bottom of the Mariana Trench five times in 10 days, it had had two visits in 60 years before we went there", Vescovo said.

He spent four hours exploring the bottom of the trench in his sub, built to withstand the huge pressure of the deep ocean.

"So far, we've made up something like 150,000 square kilometers of deep sea floor now - and we're only halfway through it".

Movie director James Cameron - who made the films Titanic and Avatar - then made a dive in 2012 by himself in a bright green sub.

Next up is a trip to the bottom of the as-yet unexplored Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, due to be completed in August 2019. Vescovo, a private equity investor, is funding the expeditions.

Prior to Cameron's dive, the first-ever expedition to Challenger Deep was made by the US Navy in 1960, reaching a depth of 10,912 metres.

The team next plans to conduct dives in the Tonga Trench in the South Pacific Ocean.

The final challenge will be to reach the bottom of the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean, which is now scheduled for August 2019.

It can withstand the crushing pressure found at the bottom of the ocean: 1,000 bars, which is the equivalent of 50 jumbo jets piled on top of a person. They also found pollution.

His voyage took place in a submarine called The Limiting Factor, which is how Mr Vescovo is able to explore some of the most remote places on the planet.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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