Veteran filmmaker James Cameron has reacted to the demise of five individuals who were aboard the submersible Titan that was destroyed in a "catastrophic implosion" during an exploration dive to the wreckage of the Titanic.
In an interview with ABC News, Cameron expressed his views on the tragedy as a longtime member of the diving community, who has made 33 trips to the Titanic himself, Deadline reported.
"Many people in the (deep-submergence engineering) community were very concerned about this sub, and a number of you know of the top players in the community even wrote letters to the company, saying that what they were doing was too experimental to carry passengers and needed to be certified and so on. 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," Cameron said.
He added, "And 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. It's really quite surreal."
In a news conference on Thursday, the US Coast Guard announced that all five people aboard the submersible, known as the "Titan," were killed. The tail cone and other debris from the missing submersible were found by a remotely operated vehicle about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic, which rests about 13,000 feet deep in the North Atlantic Ocean, as per CNN.
Cameron revealed that one of the passengers killed, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, was a friend of his.
"PH, the French legendary submersible dive pilot was a friend of mine. You know, it's a very small community. I've known PH for 25 years, and for him to have died tragically in this way is almost impossible for me to process," Cameron said.
Cameron also addressed the concerns voiced by experts about the safety of the 21-foot Titan.
"As a submersible designer myself, I designed and built us up to go to the deepest place in the ocean, three times deeper than Titanic. So I understand the engineering problems associated with building this type of vehicle and all the safety protocols that you have to go through. And I think (it) is absolutely critical to really get the take-home message from our effort ... (that) deep submergence diving is a mature art. From the early '60s, where there were a few accidents, nobody was killed in the deep submergence until now. (That's) more time than between Kitty Hawk and the flight of the first 747," he said.
Titanic sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing about 1,500 passengers and crew. The wreckage was found in 1985 and inspired diving enthusiast Cameron to make Titanic.
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