Businessman Victor Vescovo broke the record for deepest dive ever by reaching the bottom of the Marianna Trench. He descended an impressive 35,853 feet (10,927 meters) into the Pacific Ocean, 52 feet (16 meters) deeper than any previous crewed dive.
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Previous to Vescovo, oceanographer Don Walsh was the first to make it down to the trench descending about 35,814 feet (10,916 m) in the 1960s, and Canadian filmmaker James Cameron also descended to a depth of 35,787 feet (10,908 m). Walsh also took part in the recent dive but this time stayed above the water while Vescovo descended.
The DSV Limiting Factor
Vescovo undertook his dive alone in a submersible called the DSV Limiting Factor designed to withstand extreme pressures.
It was chilly; it was quiet; and "it was so very peaceful," Vescovo told Live Science. "I was surrounded by enormous pressure, but I was safely cocooned in my technological bubble."
The dive took 3.5 to 4 hours and reached a pressure of about 16,000 pounds per square inch. There they encountered much marine life.
"There were some small, translucent animals," Vescovo said. More worrisome was that Vescovo reported coming across a plastic bag and candy wrappers.
Enjoying the view
Vescovo spent hours at bottom of the Challenger Deep but at some point decided to relax and take the view in.
"Honestly, toward the end, I simply turned the thrusters off, leaned back in the cockpit and enjoyed a tuna fish sandwich while I very slowly drifted just above the bottom of the deepest place on Earth, enjoying the view and appreciating what the team had done technically," Vescovo said. "It was a very happy, peaceful moment for me."
The mission was an exploratory one, and the team collected both samples of the marine life as well as video evidence. The explorer is part of the Five Deeps Expedition, which aims to reach the bottom of every ocean on the planet.
The Five Deeps Expedition is being filmed for a five-part Discovery Channel documentary series due to air in late 2019.
Last month, Vescovo became the first human to dive to the deepest part of the Indian Ocean: the Java Trench.