Explorer reaches deepest spot on Earth in historic dive

Federico Mansilla
May 14, 2019

Victor Vescovo has successfully completed a solo dive in the Pacific Ocean to Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, commonly known as the deepest point on planet Earth.

Victor Vescovo and his submarine "The Limiting Factor" are recovered after completing the deepest dive in history.

The creative director of Atlantic Productions, Anthony Geffen, explained it is the hardest thing he has ever filmed, due to the near-freezing temperatures and pitch black the sub operates in.

Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world's oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations.

"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. "This submarine and its mother ship, along with its extraordinarily talented expedition team, took marine technology to an unprecedented new level by diving - rapidly and repeatedly - into the deepest, harshest area of the ocean".

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.

Vescovo, the Dallas-based co-founder of private equity fund Insight Equity Holdings, found the man made material on the ocean floor and is trying to confirm that it is plastic, a spokeswoman for Vescovo's Five Deeps Expedition said.

From behind the glass of a submersible created to withstand extreme pressures, he spent hours observing and documenting the quiet, dark alien world.

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It was the voyage to break the record for the world's deepest ocean dive.

Filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron emerges from the Deepsea Challenger submersible after his successful solo dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, March 26, 2011.

As well as the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, in the last six months dives have also taken place in the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean (8,376m), the South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean (7,433m) and the Java Trench in Indian Ocean (7,192m). Next, he will attempt to reach the bottom of the Arctic Ocean's Molloy Deep.

The Five Deeps is the underwater equivalent of climbing the Seven Summits, which is reaching the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

View from "Limiting Factor" submarine during a Mariana Trench dive.

At the very bottom, he found colorful rocky structures, weird critters and the ever-pervasive mark of humankind - plastic.

The challenges of exploring the deep ocean - even with robotic vehicles - has made the ocean trenches one of the last frontiers on the planet. They also found pollution.

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