James Cameron, the director of the movie Titanic and an experienced deep-sea explorer, has criticized the search operation for a tourist sub that got lost during its descent to the wreckage of the Titanic. Cameron called the operation a “nightmarish charade” and said that media reports about the submersible having 96 hours of oxygen supply and banging noises being heard were a “cruel, slow turn of the screw for four days.” He said that he knew the truth on Monday morning and that he felt in his bones that the Titan submersible had been lost soon after he heard that it had lost contact with the surface.
The Titan launched at 8 a.m. on Sunday, and was reported overdue that afternoon. On Thursday, debris was found on the ocean bed, and authorities said all five people aboard the submersible died when the vessel imploded. Cameron said that he knew an “extreme catastrophic event” had happened as soon as he heard the submersible had lost navigation and communications during its descent. He said that “for me, there was no doubt. I knew that sub was sitting exactly underneath its last known depth and position, and that’s exactly where they found it. There was no search. When they finally got an ROV down there that could make the depth, they found it within hours. Probably within minutes.”
Cameron has made more than 30 dives to the wreckage of the Titanic and has been an oceanography enthusiast since childhood. He said that “one of the saddest aspects of this is how preventable it really was” and that “we now have another wreck that is based on, unfortunately, the same principles of not heeding warnings.” Deep-sea explorers have voiced concerns about OceanGate Expeditions’ Titan submersible, saying it was too experimental to carry passengers. OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Söhnlein said that chief executive Stockton Rush, who was one of those onboard the Titan, was “extremely committed to safety.”