ON BOARD XIANGYANGHONG 09 • China's manned submersible Jiaolong has gone through a dive simulation in Sanya, Hainan province, to prepare for a deep descent in the South China Sea.
The submersible stayed underwater for 18 minutes in last Saturday's drill, completing tasks including underwater training for its crew, before returning to Xiangyanghong 09, the mother ship.
Ms Zhang Weijia, who participated, said she was very excited entering the submersible for the first time to learn about its facilities, practical operation and emergency escape procedures.
Jiaolong's South China Sea dive is part of the second stage of China's 38th ocean scientific expedition.
The expedition will last for about four months. The drill was necessary for testing equipment and personnel, said Mr Wu Changbin, general commander of the second stage of the expedition. Jiaolong's "technological status" is stable and the cooperation among various departments is smooth, he said.
Jiaolong completed a deep-sea operation in the north-western Indian Ocean earlier this year in the mission's first stage. It will conduct surveys in the Yap Trench and the Mariana Trench in the third stage.
Named after a mythical dragon, Jiaolong reached its deepest depth of 7,062m in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.