“Titanic” director James Cameron weighed in on the lost Titan submersible after Coast Guard officials found debris on the ocean floor consistent with an imploson.
“I’m struck by the similarity of the Titanic disaster itself, where the captain was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship yet he steamed at full speed into an ice field on a moonless night and many people died as a result,” Cameron said in a video interview on ABC News, which you can watch below. “And for a very similar tragedy where warnings went unheeded, to take place at the 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.”
Cameron has made 33 dives to the Titanic wreckage site. He also designed his own 24-foot submersible, the DeepSea Challenger, to visit the Mariana Trench, one of the deepest spots in the Earth’s ocean, three times deeper than the where the Titanic sank.
“I actually calculated, I’ve spent more time on the ship than the captain did back in the day,” he said. “I understand the engineering problems associated with building this type of vehicle and all the safety protocols you have to go through. I think that what Bob [Ballard] said — because I was watching — is absolutely critical for people to really get the take-home message from this, from our effort here, is deep submergence diving is a mature art.”
He also compared the time humanity has spent developing deep diving in submersibles to the period of time between Kitty Hawk and the flight between the first 747. He then discussed implosion.
“Of course, that’s the nightmare that we’ve all lived with since all of us entered this field of deep exploration. We live with it in the back of our minds. But because implosion, as Bob described it, such a violent event, is first and foremost in our minds,“ Cameron said. “The pressure boundary, which is what they call the hull of the sub that the people go inside, is obviously first and foremost in our minds as engineers. And we spend so much time and energy on that.”