Deepsea Challenger submersible catches fire on I-95

An investigator who declined to be identified looks over the damage to the Deepsea Challenger deep-diving submersible resting on its transport trailer at the I-95 rest area on I-95 southbound in North Stonington Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
An investigator who declined to be identified looks over the damage to the Deepsea Challenger deep-diving submersible resting on its transport trailer at the I-95 rest area on I-95 southbound in North Stonington Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

North Stonington — The Deepsea Challenger, a submersible that movie director/explorer James Cameron piloted to the deepest spot on earth in 2012, was damaged Thursday morning when it caught fire while being hauled aboard a trailer near Exit 92 on Interstate 95.

The fire occurred about 4:45 a.m. as the submersible was being hauled from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod, which now owns it, to Baltimore, Md.

According to the Woods Hole news office, the submersible was then slated to be placed aboard a ship and transported to Australia where it would be on temporary loan to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

According to Woods Hole, the fire caused some damage to the submersible but surveyors are still determining the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage.

No decision had been made Thursday about whether the DeepSea Challenger would continue on to Australia or return to Woods Hole.

According to the National Geographic website, on March 26, 2012, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron “succeeded in tackling his biggest challenge ever — a solo journey to Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the ocean.”

Challenger Deep, which has a depth of 10.99 kilometers (or 6.83 miles), is located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench near Guam.

Cameron donated the submersible to Woods Hole in 2013 on the one-year anniversary of his dive to Challenger Deep.

It is currently the deepest diving manned submersible in the world, according to Woods Hole.

State police and fire marshals responded to the fire as well as the North Stonington Fire Department.

j.wojtas@theday.com

Twitter: @joewojtas

An investigator who declined to be identified looks over the damage to the Deepsea Challenger deep-diving submersible resting on its transport trailer at the I-95 rest area on I-95 southbound in North Stonington Thursday, July 23, 2015. The vessel was damaged by fire while being transported along I-95 from Woods Hole to Baltimore. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
An investigator who declined to be identified looks over the damage to the Deepsea Challenger deep-diving submersible resting on its transport trailer at the I-95 rest area on I-95 southbound in North Stonington Thursday, July 23, 2015. The vessel was damaged by fire while being transported along I-95 from Woods Hole to Baltimore. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
In this Aug. 4, 2014, AP file photo, a view outside the U.S. premiere of National Geographic's 'Deepsea Challenge 3D', hosted by James Cameron and Rolex, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. (Scott Roth/Invision via AP file photo)
In this Aug. 4, 2014, AP file photo, a view outside the U.S. premiere of National Geographic's "Deepsea Challenge 3D", hosted by James Cameron and Rolex, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. (Scott Roth/Invision via AP file photo)

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