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Woman pilot of deep-sea submersible shares her story

By Wang Zhenghua (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-03-19 15:20

Woman pilot of deep-sea submersible shares her story

Zhang Yi, China's first female pilot trainee for deep-sea manned sub, smiles before entering Jiaolong, China's deep-sea manned submersible, in the southwest Indian Ocean, Jan 10, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Excitement outweighed tension, and there was no time to eat or rest for as long as eight hours when China's deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong dived 3,000 meters below sea surface, one of the sub's first female pilots said.

In an interview with China Business News based in Xi'an, Zhang Yi, one of the two female pilots of Jiaolong, shared the experience of working on the submersible on its latest expedition to the southwest Indian Ocean, and how she and five others outshined others during the selection of oceanauts.

Jiaolong, which can dive to a depth of over 7,000 meters, returned to the home port in Qingdao, Shandong province, on March 17, after concluding a 120-day expedition aimed at scientific research and training newly selected pilots.

Zhang, 27, a native of Tangshan, Hebei province, flew in December with the other female submersible pilot to Mauritius to join the team in the latest exploration of the ocean.

Jiaolong made a dozen dives during the latest expedition, with the six trainee pilots on board taking turns to participate in the submergence.

Zhang dived two times during the exploration.

"The excitement outweighs the tension," said the pilot as she recalled her maiden dive. "It's difficult to worry simply because we don't know the risks we face."

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