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Plastic bag found at bottom of Mariana Trench - during the deepest dive

15 May 2019

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended almost 10.93 km to a point in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth.

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. The expedition reached a maximum depth of 10,928 metres / 35,853 feet deep - 16 metres / 52 feet deeper than any previous manned dive. The explorer is part of the Five Deeps Expedition, which aims to reach the bottom of every ocean on the planet.

This isn't a one-off dive either, Vescovo has made four dives over the last three weeks into the Mariana Trench to collect various biological and rock samples.

"This was a demonstration of system reliability and operational efficiency never seen before in exploration of the oceans' deepest places", Walsh said.

The team also found what they think are four new species of amphipods, or shell-less crustaceans. More worrisome was that Vescovo reported coming across a plastic bag and candy wrappers.

According to BBC, the first dive into the Mariana Trench occurred in 1960 by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard. He will have been to the "roof of the world", Mt. Everest, and its' floor, the Mariana Trench. 3 Both the Trieste and Deepsea Challenger only descended to the bottom of Challenger Deep once.

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.

A technician checks the DSV Limiting Factor aboard the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel.

Victor Vescovo, a private equity investor, climbed the highest peaks on the planet's seven continents before turning his attention to the ocean's extreme depths.

"It is nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", he said in a release after the completion of the dives.

After the Five Deeps expedition is complete later this year, the plan is to pass the submersible onto science institutions so researchers can continue to use it.

"That is my honest hope - to sell the system to an institute, government, or individual, that can use the whole diving system to advance marine science for decades to come".

"Honestly, towards 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", he said. "That is the story of our species, and I am just so happy that even if in a small way, I have been able to contribute to forward progress". "And then I came up".

Plastic bag found at bottom of Mariana Trench - during the deepest dive