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    Retired Navy Captain Don Walsh, Part of 2-Man Crew to First Reach Deepest Point of Ocean, Dies at 92

    Retired Navy Captain Don Walsh, Part of 2-Man Crew to First Reach Deepest Point of Ocean, Dies at 92

    Retired Navy Capt. Don Walsh, an explorer who in 1960 was part of a two-man crew that made the first voyage to the deepest part of the ocean — to the “snuff-colored ooze” at the bottom of the Pacific's Mariana Trench — has died. He was 92.

    Walsh died Nov. 12 at his home in Myrtle Point, Oregon, his daughter, Elizabeth Walsh, said Monday.

    In January 1960, Walsh, then a U.S. Navy lieutenant, and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard were sealed inside a 150-ton, steel-hulled bathyscaphe named the Trieste to attempt to dive nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers) below the surface. A bathyscaphe is a self-propelled submersible used in deep-sea dives.

    The two men descended to 35,800 feet (11,000 meters) in the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Earth's oceans, part of the Mariana Trench, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) off in the Pacific.

    After a descent of about five hours, the steel-hulled submersible touched down on what the log described as the “snuff-colored ooze” of silt stewed up by the ship reaching the bottom.

    When they reached the seafloor, the two men shook hands.

    “I knew we were making history,” Walsh told The World newspaper of Coos Bay, Oregon, in 2010. “It was a special day.”

    After spending 20 minutes on the floor and confirming there was life there when a fish swam by, they began their 3 1/2-hour ascent.

    “We were astounded to find higher marine life forms down there at all,” Piccard said before his death in…

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