China completes 300-meter saturation dive

Updated: 2014-01-25 22:25


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SHANGHAI - On Saturday, six divers came out safely from a living chamber that had took them more than 300 meters underwater, marking the complete success of China's first 300-meter saturation dive experiment.

After staying in the chamber for 380 hours, Hu Jian, Guan Meng, Dong Meng, Tan Hui, Luo Xiaoming and Li Hongjian came out at around 9 a.m., all of them with sound body conditions.

"This puts a successful conclusion to China's first 300-meter saturation dive," said Shen Hao, head of the Shanghai Salvage Company under the Ministry of Transport, which was responsible for this experiment project.

On January 9, the six divers went into the living chamber, which was later pressurized to the pressure level of 300 meters undersea.

The chamber took them about 300 meters underwater on January 12 and then witnessed them diving to as deep as 313.5 meters, according to Shen.

Saturation diving technology enables human beings to withstand high water pressure by saturating human tissue with inert gas, which will allow divers to stay under water for a longer time and at a deeper sea level than with conventional techniques.

It is commonly used in deep sea exploration, in rescue operations at sea and in engineering construction at the bottom of the sea. China had previously only conducted such experiments in laboratories.

At present, China is intensifying efforts to develop the whole set of saturation diving technologies and is researching on technology that would work at a depth of 500 meters underwater, Shen said.