A group of Australian innovators have achieved a world record with a customized 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser affectionately named "Mudcrab."
Comprising a skilled team of engineers, professional divers, and automobile enthusiasts, this collective recently orchestrated an extraordinary endeavor. They navigated a vintage Land Cruiser 4.3 miles beneath the waters of Darwin, an Australian city, setting a new bar for both the longest and deepest underwater journey.
This historic achievement, as reported by ABC News Australia, saw the vehicle reaching an astounding depth of 98 feet beneath the harbor's surface. This feat demanded more than a mere snorkel to achieve.
Prepping the "mudcrab"
To enable this remarkable journey, the Land Cruiser underwent a significant transformation. Originally in a non-operational state, it was retrofitted with electric propulsion to operate efficiently without any reliance on oxygen combustion.
In a fascinating twist, the tires were loaded with 330 pounds of water, further enhancing the vehicle's submerged performance. Impressively, the team managed to execute only one saltwater test drive prior to undertaking the record-setting mission.
Embarking on a course that stretched from Mandorah to Darwin, the Mudcrab, accompanied by its team of drivers and divers, traced a path across the harbor. Interestingly, this feat had been previously attempted in 1983 by a different Darwin-based group using a different Land Cruiser.
The world record attempt
Though their effort fell short of completing the entire harbor crossing due to encountering a rocky ledge 1.8 miles into the journey, they did manage to secure records for underwater distance and depth.
This earlier pursuit evolved into an "urban legend" within Darwin, a wellspring of inspiration for the current endeavor, as Matty Mitchell, the head diver for the Mudcrab team, shared during an interview with ABC News Australia.
This monumental feat saw a rotation of 30 commercial divers taking turns at the wheel. Despite the presence of potentially hazardous marine life such as sharks and crocodiles, the most significant challenges proved to be the viscosity of the mud and the layers of silt.
The Land Cruiser encountered multiple instances of becoming stuck, necessitating the use of inflatable buoys to extricate it from the mire. Additionally, the SUV had to be carefully maneuvered over a gas pipeline, a task that took two hours of effort.
Ultimately, the underwater expedition concluded after a span of 12 hours—approximately five hours beyond the initial projection.
The Mudcrab resurfaced from the depths, emerging from the inky waters around 9:00 p.m. local time, marking a truly extraordinary achievement in the realm of underwater exploration.