The director of Oscar-winning film Titanic has said he is “struck by the similarity” of the Titan sub tragedy and the sinking of the cruise ship in 1912.
James Cameron said many in the submergence engineering community had been “deeply concerned” about the OceanGate Expeditions craft that was reported missing on Sunday.
The Hollywood director, responsible for the 1997 film, has designed and built similar submersibles and had himself visited the wreckage of the famous ocean liner 33 times.
OceanGate announced on Thursday that the pilot and four passengers of the missing Titan submersible were believed to be dead.
The tail cone was found around 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912.
Speaking to ABC News about submersible engineering on Thursday, Cameron said: “This is a mature art and many people in the community were very concerned about the sub.
“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 they needed to be certified.
“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.
“For a very similar tragedy where warnings went unheeded to take place at the same exact site, with all the diving that’s going on all around the world – I think it’s just astonishing.”
Those on board Titan included OceanGate chief executive Stockton Rush, along with UK citizens Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood and French national Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
Cameron said the loss of Mr Nargeolet, who he described as a “legendary submersible dive pilot” and a friend of 25 years, was “surreal”.
“For him to have died tragically in this way is almost impossible for me to process,” the director told ABC.