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James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of “Titanic,” said on Thursday that the OceanGates’ Titan submersible that imploded underwater did so because it was not constructed out of the proper materials.
Cameron, who is considered an expert at diving and submersibles, made the remarks during interviews with ABC News and The New York Times after officials announced that they had located the debris of the vessel on the ocean floor and the five passengers on board had all died.
“I’ve been down there many times. I know the [Titanic] wreck site very well,” Cameron said. “I’ve made 33 dives, and I actually calculated that I spent more time on the ship than the captain did back in the day.”
“As a submersible designer myself, I designed and built a sub to go to the deepest place in the ocean – three times deeper than Titanic,” he said. “So, I understand the engineering problems associated with building this type of vehicle and all the safety protocols that you have to go through.”
Cameron said that there have never been any fatalities in this type of underwater exploration in the past and that the Titan imploded because it was made out of carbon fiber, which is stronger and lighter than steel or aluminum but has “no strength in compression.”
Cameron said that the implosion, when an object collapses inward, would have been “an extremely violent event — like 10 cases of dynamite going off.”
Cameron said that deep submergence is a “mature art” and that all submersibles “except this one” undergo certification protocols to make sure the vessels are safe for passengers.
“This is a mature art, and many people in the community were very concerned about this sub. And 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,” he said. “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.”
‘Titanic’ director James Cameron on the ‘catastrophic implosion’ of Titan submersible: “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." pic.twitter.com/vO8JkCXS5f
— ABC News (@ABC) June 22, 2023