On 28 April, 2019, accompanied by his Five Deeps Expedition, amateur pilot and businessman Victor Vescovo reached the bottom of the Pacific Ocean‘s Challenger Deep – the deepest known point in the Earth‘s seabed.
“We have indeed built and perfected a submersible that can easily and reliably take two people to the bottom of any point on Earth, even the Challenger Deep,” said Vescovo. “This will allow for an unprecedented level of access for scientists and others to explore the ocean, increase our understanding of it, and hopefully make life better and richer in the future.”
The most recent dive is the culmination of a years-long journey to achieve touch-down in the deepest parts in each of the planet’s five oceans.
According to the expedition, the final depth reached by Vescovo and crew was 35,853 feet (roughly 10,928 metres), which is 97 feet (roughly 2,957 metres) deeper than the previous record achieved by the filmmaker James Cameron in 2012, making Vescovo the deepest diving human in history.
The feat is not only impressive in the Guinness World Records kind of way, but also useful from the point of view of scientific research, as, in addition to marvelling at the depths, the Five Deeps Expedition also surveyed and mapped the region with advanced sonar technology and collected a set of samples for study.
In addition, Vescovo and his team managed to spot and record no less than three new species of marine animal while suspended in the Challenger Deep’s virtually unexplored hadal zone.
“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,” Vescovo said.
Huddled in the submersible called The Limiting Factor – proudly adorned with the flag of Texas – the Dallas explorer and crew spent on average 11-12 hours per dive, all the while being filmed by Atlantic Productions for a documentary due out later in 2019 on Discovery Channel.
“These were dives so deep that only two had been done in the last 59 years. We remarked among ourselves that we could have dived daily if we had more technicians aboard and that the sub, ironically, was not the ‘limiting factor,’” said Vescovo.