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James Cameron shares thoughts on the submersible tragedy, sees similarities with Titanic wreck

Jun 22, 2023, 3:52 PM | Updated: 4:06 pm

James Cameron, who directed the hit 1997 film “Titanic,” offered some thoughts on June 22 on th...

James Cameron, who directed the hit 1997 film “Titanic,” offered some thoughts on June 22 on the Titanic-bound submersible tragedy. Cameron is seen here in Los Angeles on January 12. Mandatory Credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/FILE

(CNN) — James Cameron, who directed the hit 1997 film “Titanic” and has himself made 33 dives to the wreckage, offered some thoughts Thursday after it was announced that a missing Titanic-bound submersible suffered a “catastrophic implosion,” killing five people on board.

“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 steamed at full speed into an ice field on a moonless night and many people died as a result,” Cameron told ABC News. “And with 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.”

A desperate search and rescue mission had been underway since the submersible went missing Sunday.

US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger said Thursday that a remotely operated vehicle had located the tail cone of the Titan submersible about 1,600 feet away from the bow of the shipwreck.

OceanGate, the company behind the trek, released a statement Thursday stating it believes the five passengers have “sadly been lost.”

“We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” the company said in a statement. “These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans. 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.”

Ironically Rush’s wife, Wendy Rush, is a descendant of retailing magnate Isidor Straus and his wife, Ida, who were part of the group of more than 1500 people who died during the Titanic’s maiden voyage, according to New York Times archive records.

Cameron is an experienced deep sea explorer who in 2012 dove to the Mariana Trench, considered one of the deepest spots in the Earth’s oceans at almost seven miles below the surface, in a 24-foot submersible vehicle he designed called the Deepsea Challenger.

On Thursday, he told ABC News “many people in the community were very concerned” about the Titan’s suitability for the ill-fated trip.

In 2012, he talked to the New York Times about the dangers of deep sea exploration.

“You’re going into one of the most unforgiving places on earth,” he said then. “It’s not like you can call up AAA to come get you.”


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James Cameron shares thoughts on the submersible tragedy, sees similarities with Titanic wreck