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Arthur Flechsig, 78; Marine Ecologist Was Part of Sealab Project

June 07, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Arthur Flechsig, 78, a member of the Navy's Sealab project that sent teams of men to live on the sea floor in the 1960s, has died.

Flechsig died May 10 of cardiopulmonary arrest at Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego.

Flechsig dove more than 200 feet to the habitat on the sea floor off the coast of San Diego on Sept. 12, 1965, and spent the next 15 days under the waves as part of the Sealab II project.

Ten men at a time occupied the cramped metal tube at a depth of 205 feet. It was an endeavor that paralleled the nation's effort to land a man on the moon.

Flechsig, a marine ecologist employed by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, was one of the few civilians on the mostly Navy Sealab crews.

The Sealab project, which included Mercury 7 astronaut Scott Carpenter, was discontinued in 1969 after the death of aquanaut Barry Cannon.

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