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Land Cruiser Sets Underwater Driving World Record

A plan hatched over beers became reality this weekend as a team of Aussies faced sharks and crocs while driving over 4 miles underwater.

land cruiserAn Aussie team tests out their underwater Land Cruiser before a successful world-record attempt on Saturday; (photo/Screenshot courtesy of 9 News Darwin)
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This story couldn’t be more Australian if Crocodile Dundee showed up.

A team of 30 divers has claimed two new world records on Saturday for the longest and deepest underwater joyride in history. They rebuilt a 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser with a waterproof electric engine, and then drove it 4.3 miles across Australia’s Darwin Harbour, according to ABC News.

The Mudcrab emerged from the water at 9 p.m. Saturday after a 12-hour journey across the harbor’s bottom, which reaches a depth of nearly 100 feet. A muddy ocean floor and a pipeline delayed the team’s planned arrival at 5 p.m., but a cheering crowd of hundreds remained to greet them, according to several local news outlets.

It’s the final vindication of a legendary — and failed — attempt to do the same thing back in 1983, also with a Land Cruiser. Back then, the car hit a rock about a mile into the journey and returned to the surface.

But when a new team hatched a plan (over some beers) to try it again, they decided it was time to finally pull it off.

Team Work for the Win

At 100 feet below the ocean’s surface, there’s too much pressure for a driver to stay down for all 12 hours. So each “diver-driver” spent a 15-minute shift in the car before returning to the surface.

It was also far from a practiced run, with just one saltwater test drive four days before the actual attempt, 9 News Darwin reported. The original 1983 attempt had become local folklore, which the team knew they had to try once again.

“We were all sitting around having a beer talking about what would be the next adventure, and this came up, and we all wanted to get into it,” project manager Thomas Lawrence told the local news station. “You hear about it all the time, about this legendary Darwin Harbour driving adventure.”

Once at the bottom of the bay, mud and silt proved a problem. The team overcame these obstacles by using inflatable buoys to lift the vehicle off of the sticky bottom.

In the murky waters, the divers also had to contend with the possibility of curious saltwater crocodiles and local sharks passing by to check out the commotion. Not that we’re suggesting these Aussie divers were worried in the least.

“I’m pretty sure a bright-orange car coming towards a shark or a croc that they’ve seen before aren’t going to be hanging around at all,” mechanic Taylor Smith told ABC News.

As the team emerged from the water, one of the crew waved a freshly caught barramundi in the air.

Only in Australia, folks.

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