Deep Ocean Live: Rescuers save mini-submarine which was stranded on seabed


Rescuers have finally managed to retrieve a stricken mini-sub from the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

The remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) fell to the seabed on Tuesday after its cable was sliced through by the propeller of the Nekton mission’s mothership.

But at the third attempt the team managed to clip a hook and line onto the ROV and haul it to the surface with not even a scratch on the paintwork.

Jimmy Boeson, one of the pilots from ROV-Support, said: “It has been the worst two days of my life.

“On the outside it is looking pretty good. I don’t think it is filled with water, but we have to look at it.

“It’s good to get it back.”

The ROV is worth £350,000 and was mission critical. It formed part of the rescue plan to recover the manned submersibles if they became stuck underwater.

And without it the team had lost its ability to do science surveys, down to 500m.

Oliver Steeds, Nekton mission director, told Sky News: “The deep ocean begins at 200 metres.

“We needed this ROV to be able to go deeper and conduct the same research that the submersibles are doing in shallower water.

“The ROV is absolutely critical for mission success.”

I was diving in one of the mission’s manned submersibles on Tuesday when the accident happened, and found the ROV lying on its side 100m below the surface.

We nudged it with the sub’s robotic arm, but didn’t have enough battery power left after a six-hour dive to attempt recovery.

A further effort to attach a float failed and a third was thwarted by strong currents.

If the ROV is still working it will be used for Deep Ocean Live, a pioneering live broadcast by Sky News from 300 metres below the surface.

:: Sky News will broadcast live from 300m down in the Indian Ocean on 18, 19 and 20 March. The series will examine the impact of climate change and plastic pollution. It includes the deepest-ever live news programme from submersibles.

:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at

(c) Sky News 2019: Deep Ocean Live: Rescuers save mini-submarine which was stranded on seabed

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