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James Cameron struck by eerie similarities between Titanic tragedy tragedy and Titan submersible incident: ‘It’s really quite surreal’

OceanGate’s Titan submersible, which was headed to the Titanic wreck site, reportedly suffered a catastrophic explosion in the North Atlantic sea

Smera Marcia Toppo Calcutta Published 23.06.23, 12:28 PM
James Cameron

James Cameron Getty Images

Filmmaker James Cameron, who helmed the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, has found eerie similarities between the tragedy of OceanGate’s Titan submersible and what happened to the doomed ship Titanic in 1912.

Sharing his thoughts on the tragedy surrounding the Titan submersible in an interview with ABC News on Friday, Cameron said the similarities between the two tragic incidents were quite surreal. “I’m struck by the similarity of the Titanic disaster itself, where the captain was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship and yet he steamed at full speed into an ice field on a moonless night, and many people died as a result. For a very similar tragedy, where warnings went unheeded, to take place at the same exact site….I think is just astonishing. It’s really quite surreal.”

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The interview came just a day after the US Coast Guard announced that the submersible, which was headed to the Titanic wreck site 13,000 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic, had suffered a catastrophic implosion resulting in the presumed death of all five passengers on board. “I know the wreck site very well. I’ve made 33 dives. I’ve actually calculated that I’ve spent more time on the ship than the Captain did back in the day,” the Oscar-winning filmmaker said.

Cameron had become a deep-sea explorer in the 1990s while researching for his Leonardo DiCaprio-Kate Winslet-starrer film and is part owner of Triton Submarines, which makes submersibles for research and tourism.

“I understand the engineering problems associated with building this type of vehicle and all the safety protocols you have to go through. I think that it is absolutely critical for people to really get the take home message from this,” the filmmaker continued.

Cameron revealed that the makers of the submersible had been warned by engineering communities surrounding the safety of the vessel. “The top players in the deep submergence engineering community even wrote letters to the company (OceanGate) saying that what they were doing was too experimental to carry passengers and that they needed to be certified,” he observed.

The director also lamented the presumed death of French maritime expert and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, who was among the five passengers on the submersible. “For him to have died tragically in this way is almost impossible for me to process.” Cameron and Nargeolet were friends for over two decades. British billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistan-born businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood and OceanGate Expedition's chief executive Stockton Rush were the four other passengers on the vessel.

The Titan was launched on Sunday and was reported missing after one hour and 45 minutes of losing contact with its mothership, The Polar Prince. The US Navy’s underwater microphones had detected the Titan’s implosion several days ago but only released the information on Thursday.

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