James Cameron, director of the Titanic movie, has said that the deep submergence community had previously raised concerns about OceanGate’s vehicle.
According to him, the community even wrote to the company saying, in his words, “you are going on a path to catastrophe”.
Cameron had warned of the dangers of visiting the legendary shipwreck after making 33 dives to the bottom of the ocean to film his smash hit.
‘You’re going into one of the most unforgiving places on earth,’ the Academy Award-winning director said in a 2012 interview.
“Many people in the community were very concerned about this sub,” he explained during an appearance on ABC News on Thursday (June 22). “And a number of the top players in the deep submergence engineering community even wrote letters to the company saying what they were doing was too experimental to carry passengers and needed to be certified.”
“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,” he said. “For a very similar tragedy where warnings went unheeded to take place at the same exact site… I think it’s just astonishing, it’s really quite surreal.”
The director claimed he knew the Titanic wreck site “very well” after having made 33 dives to see it, including the 12 trips he made while directing Titanic. “I actually calculated that I spent more time on the ship than the captain did back in the day,” he said.
Cameron also added that he personally knew victim Paul-Henry Nargeolet, a 73-year-old maritime explorer who was aboard the missing OceanGate submersible, The Independent reports.
“It’s a very small community,” he said, referring to the deep submergence diving community he has become a part of over the years. “I’ve known P.H. for 25 years. For him to have died tragically in this way is almost impossible for me to process.”
Among the victims presumed to be dead is OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, British explorer Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood.