Setting a new deep-diving record, American explorer Victor Vescovo is the first human to make multiple dives to the Challenger Deep within the Marianas Trench, descending a maximum depth of 10,928 meters (35,853 feet deep) in the surface of the planet’s deepest point.
Diving solo in the submersible DSV Limiting Factor, the 53-year-old businessman from Texas beat the 1960 record set by Lt. Don Walsh and Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard, who reached 10,912 meters.
Vescoso led the four deeps expedition between April 28 and May 5 and one final dive on May 7 to the Sirena Deep.
“It is almost indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did,” Vescovo said after arriving in Guam at the completion of the dives.
“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.”
Filmmaker James Cameron was the last explorer to descend into the Challenger Deep in 2012, reaching a depth of 10,908 meters on a dive in his submersible, the Deepsea Challenger.
Vescoso spent four hours in the submersible exploring the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
According to the team, the average total mission duration lasted from 11 to 12 hours. including one hour combined for launch and recovery of the sub from the surface, well under the submersible’s required life support endurance of four days with two persons onboard.
“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,” Vescoso said.
Vescovo also became the first person to have summited Mount Everest and thus the first to have completed visiting one version of the “Four Corners of the Earth.” In 2011, he completed the Seven Summits – climbing the highest peak on every continent – and has now been to the bottom of four of the world’s oceans.
“Victor Vescovo’s imagination and fierce curiosity; Triton Submarines technical brilliance, and the outstanding performance of the officers and crew of mother ship Pressure Drop all converged to make this expedition a huge success. And I was there to see it,” Walsh said.
“This time it was an impressive tour de force as the team repeated the Challenger Deep dive four times in just eight days. This was a demonstration of system reliability and operational efficiency never seen before in exploration of the oceans’ deepest places,” he added.
Patrick Lahey, president of Triton Submarines, said the team’s goal was to build a submersible capable of repeated dives to any depth with its pedigree and security assured by third party accreditation.
“Our dives in the Mariana Trench demonstrate we achieved our objective,” Lahey sad. “The Triton 36,000/2 (LF) represents a quantum leap in the capabilities of a manned submersible and everyone at Triton is immensely proud to have had the privilege and opportunity to create such a remarkable craft, which was only possible by the unwavering support and vision of Victor Vescovo.”
The expedition was managed by EYOS Expeditions.
“It has been a monumental week for ocean exploration; we have broken world records and achieved a number of world firsts,” said Rob McCallum of EYOS. “Most importantly we have opened the door to the final frontier— the exploration of the hadal zone and the workings of the deepest parts of the world’s oceans,”, whose company is managing the expedition.”
Read more in the June issue of the Pacific Island Times print edition.