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15.03.2015 23:19 Age: 3 yrs
Category: WA-IMOS, ANFOG

Missing ocean glider discovered after two years

An IMOS underwater research device called an ocean glider, which was missing for two years, has been found in the Perth Canyon, 60 km off the coast of Western Australia.

Missing ocean glider discovered on the Perth Canyon floor

The team that found the glider was on a 12-day expedition surveying the undersea canyon using a remote operated vehicle (ROV) for the first time.

The glider was found by the ROV 700 metres down on the floor of the canyon near Rottnest Island, on the side of a 100-metre cliff.

Professor Chari Pattiaratchi, IMOS Ocean Gliders facility leader, said they had chosen that side of the canyon in the hope of finding the glider.

‘We knew roughly where it was because the glider was sending signals to us but we did not have the means to be able to recover it from 700m water depths.  

'We suspected that the glider was ‘stuck’ in the canyon and was not able to rise to the surface.

‘Since we were out there on the RV Falkor, investigating organisms living deep in the canyon with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), we took the opportunity to locate a dive site at the estimated  glider location and then we found it,’ said Professor Pattiaratchi.

The team later attempted to recover the glider but was unsuccessful. Although managing to pick the glider up with the ROV they experienced challenges in bringing it up to the surface.

The weather was producing rough seas causing the ROV cage, which was connected to the ship, to oscillate. In these conditions the ROV was unable to hold the glider with a single arm.