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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jill Lawless

'Titanic' director James Cameron says the search for the missing sub became a 'nightmarish charade'

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Titanic director James Cameron has responded to the news of the confirmed deaths onboard the tourist submersible named Titan on Thursday (22 June).

Officials have determined that the submarine, which went missing on an expedition to view the Titanic shipwreck on Sunday (18 June), experienced a “catastrophic implosion” killing all five passengers aboard.

Sixty-eight-year-old Cameron is known for being an avid sea tourist and has made 33 dives to the Titanic wreckage site himself over the years.

“Many people in the community were very concerned about this sub,” the Canadian filmmaker said in an interview with ABC News on Thursday.

In 2012, Cameron became the first person to complete a solo descent to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth’s ocean.

“A number of the top players in the deep submergence engineering community even wrote letters to the company, saying that what they were doing was too experimental to carry passengers and that it needed to be certified and so on,” he continued.

James Cameron has himself visited the wreckage of the famous ocean liner 33 times
— (PA Wire)

“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 us, a very similar tragedy where warnings went unheeded to take place at the same exact site with all the diving that’s going on all around the world, I think it’s just astonishing. It’s really quite surreal.”

Cameron went on to say that the death of renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet was “impossible for me to process”. Cameron counted the 77-year-old dive pilot as a friend; Nargeolet died alongside the Titan submarine’s company’s founder Stockton Rush, British billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman.

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The Titan touristic sub
— (AP)

Cameron’s Titanic, based on the real-life 1912 sinking of the passenger liner, was released in 1997. Starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, the film won 11 Oscars and made over $2bn (£1.57bn) at the global box office.

On Thursday, the US Coast Guard announced a “debris field”, which comprised several parts of the Titan approximately 1600 feet from the bow of the Titanic at the bottom of the sea floor.

In a statement, OceanGate Inc said: “Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans.”

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