Russian divers have taken two mini-submarines deep into Lake Baikal in Siberia, but said they failed to set a new record for the deepest fresh-water dive ever.
Mir-1 and Mir-2 – each with three crew aboard -measured the depth at the lake floor to be 1,680 metres, more than 40 metres deeper than previous estimates.
Baikal is the deepest lake in the world – holding more than 20 per cent of the planet’s surface fresh water. It is also a rich habitat for thousands of species of flora and fauna. The mission was intended to study the lake’s natural history; to search for previously unknown species; and to explore possible deposits of oil and gas.
It is headed by the same man who led an expedition to plant the Russian flag on the Arctic floor 4,000 metres below the North Pole in August last year.