MANILA (UPDATE) - The Filipino scientist who was one of the first humans to reach the third deepest spot on earth, has returned to the surface on Tuesday.
Dr. Deo Florence Onda, a microbial oceanographer from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), and American explorer Victor Vescovo have returned safely to the surface after diving the approximately 34,100 feet deep Emden Deep in the Philippine Trench on the same day.
"DSV Limiting Factor is back on the surface! " the UP Marine Science Institute wrote on Facebook before 6 p.m. Tuesday as it posted photos of Onda and Vescovo holding the Philippine flag on board their vessel.
Onda also posted a short video on his Facebook page before 7 p.m., announcing that they have reached Emden Deep. A separate post on Facebook by the DSSV Pressure Drop's team past 11 a.m. showed the touchdown of the duo at 10,045 meters deep.
"We've reached the Emden Deep. We've waved the Philippine Flag. We've set records. We have made history today," Onda captioned his post.
"This is the Emden Deep in the Phiippine Trench. ATIN ITO!"
In a previous interview, Vescovo said the whole mission was estimated to take 12 hours - 4 hours going down, 3 or 4 hours at the bottom, and another 4 hours going up to the surface.
"Deep see expeditions like this one are equivalent to the first early flights into outer space, thus it would be a major record-setting scientific and historic achievement," the UPMSI had said in a statement.
"The Philippine Trench is a unique feature found within the EEZ of the Philippines, and it is only appropriate that a Filipino scientist be one of the first to hold this record in the Emden Deep," it added.
Onda was invited by private organization Caladan Oceanic in the expedition set to happen from March 22 to 28.
His exposure "to state-of-the-art vessels capable of deep-sea activities" is expected to "enrich our experiences and knowledge as the Philippines builds its own National Academic Research Fleet (NARFleet)," the UPMSI said.
The mission is also seen to "spark interest and passion for many other young Filipinos who would want to make a career in the sciences and bring more attention to the protection, preservation, and conservation of the Philippine marine environment," it added.
Vescovo, the main sponsor of Caladan Oceanic, holds the record for the deepest manned descent in the Mariana Trench in 2019.