BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The hatch of the Jiaolong, a Chinese manned submersible, opened at 10:13 a.m. Beijing time, returning after having successfully reached a depth of 5,057 meters at 6:12 a.m.
The test dive, which commenced at 3:38 a.m. on Tuesday in international waters of the Pacific Ocean, achieved complete success, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said.
Ye Cong, Yang Bo and Fu Wentao were the members of the three-man crew.
Such a depth means the Jiaolong is capable of reaching over 70 percent of the seabeds in the world, said Wang Fei, deputy director of SOA and director of the leading team of the diving test program.
"It will pave way for a record-breaking 7,000-meter test dive in 2012," Wang added.
Japan is the current world record holder, whose Shinkai 6500 succeeded in diving to 6,527 meters in August 1989.
"The purpose of this diving test program is to find problems with the Jiaolong and improve it constantly," Wang said.
Deep diving poses a challenge to the submersible's capacity to withstand water pressure and its tightness, according to Wang.
"At a depth of 5,000 meters, the Jiaolong withstood great pressure amounting to 5,000 tonnes per square meter," Wang said.