James Cameron has admitted that he knew the crew of the Titan’s fate before anyone else did—including the Coast Guard.
Cameron, a member of the same exploration club as Stockton Rush, is active in the submersible community. He has travelled to the bottom of the Marianas Trench—almost twice the depth that the Titan sank to—and returned. The wisdom he gained gave him a clue as to what was happened to the doomed submersible.
“I watched over the ensuing days this whole sort of ‘everybody running around with their hair on fire’ search, knowing full well that it was futile – hoping against hope that I was wrong but knowing in my bones that I wasn’t,” he said, in an interview.
“For me, there was no doubt. There was no search. When they finally got an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) down there that could make the depth, they found it within hours. Probably within minutes.”
Cameron has called the tragedy “ironic”, citing that similar oversights were what sank the Titanic, itself.
“We now have another wreck that is based on, unfortunately, the same principles of not heeding warnings. OceanGate were warned. It’s not lost on me as somebody who studied the meaning of Titanic… it’s about warnings that were ignored. That ship is lying at the bottom of the ocean, not because of the nature of its steel or the nature of its compartments, but just because of bad seamanship. The captain was warned, there were icebergs ahead, it was a moonless night and he plowed ahead.”