James Cameron 'struck by similarity' between Titan sub tragedy and sinking of the Titanic in 1912

23 June 2023, 00:03

James Cameron speaks out after a Titanic sub went missing
James Cameron speaks out after a Titanic sub went missing. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

James Cameron has said he is "struck by the similarity" of the Titan submersible tragedy and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

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The Oscar-winning Titanic film director said many in the deep submergence engineering community had been "deeply concerned" about the Oceangate Expeditions craft after it first went missing on Sunday.

Cameron has designed and built similar submersibles and had visited the Titanic wreckage 33 times himself.

It comes after Oceangate announced on Thursday that all five passengers aboard the missing Titan submersible were believed to be dead.

The tail cone was found around 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

Read more: All five passengers on missing Titanic submarine are ‘sadly lost’ says firm behind trip - as tributes paid to explorers

Read more: ‘It took far too long’: Family of Hamish Harding hit out at missing Titanic sub owner for not raising alarm fast enough

Submersible lost on dive to Titanic suffered 'catastrophic implosion' – US Coast Guard

Likening the incident to the Titanic, Cameron said the "captain was repeatedly warned" but "steamed full-speed ahead".

"This is a mature art and many people in the community were very concerned about the sub," he told ABCNews.

"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 they needed to be certified.

"So 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, with all the diving that's going on all around the world - I think it's just astonishing."

Debris discovered in search for missing sub is ‘worrying development’ says British Saturation Diver

Officials in the US have said they are "not sure" they can recover the bodies of the five people who died.

In a press conference in Boston on Thursday, Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters he could not say what the prospects were of recovering the bodies of those killed on the Titan expedition.

He said: "This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor and the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel.

"And so we'll continue to work and continue to search the area down there, but I don't have an answer for prospects at this time."

Some of the vessels currently at the scene of the search will begin to be demobilised over the next 24 hours, but remote operations on the sea floor will continue, Rear Admiral Mauger added.

He also said he does not have a timeline for when the remote operations will finish.