James Cameron hits out at US Coast Guard one year after Titanic sub imploded, saying they made process 'torturous for the families'

Filmmaker James Cameron has launched a scathing attack on the US Coast Guard one year after a submersible imploded underwater while on the way to visit the Titanic shipwreck.

In June 2023, the OceanGate Titanic submersible imploded, killing all five people onboard. However, investigators at the time tried desperately to cover an area about half the size of Belgium before 96 hours of oxygen had run out for those on the sub.

During an interview with 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday, Cameron claimed search efforts had been "torturous for the families" and complained about not being called as a witness to the investigation despite offering to do so.

The submersible lost contact about halfway down on its dive to the ocean wreck which lies 3.8km under the ocean. Hamish Harding, Stockton Rush, Shahzada and Suleman Dawood and Paul-Henri Nargeolet all died in the "catastrophic" implosion.

In May this year, the US Coast Guard provided an update to the investigation, saying it was still in its "fact-finding" stage.

A spokesperson for the Coast Guard told The Independent: "The Titan Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) remains in the fact-finding phase of the investigation and is collecting all relevant evidence and information.

"A projected completion date is not available.

"The latter part of the fact-finding phase will include a public hearing, and the MBI will provide at least 60 days' notice ahead of the public hearing."

This has angered Cameron.

"I think they want to do things their way," the Avatar director said of the investigators.

"Frankly, I think they've kind of got egg on their face and they don't want outside opinions. That's just my interpretation.

"They should be inviting me but they're not. Why listen to a scientist?"

Cameron also revealed he had a handwritten note he had made the moment he discovered there had been an implosion.

In the 60 Minutes programme, the note was shown - which had the words "9:25 confirmed implosion" written by Cameron.

"I literally wrote that on the pad the moment I heard from my naval source, a very reliable source, that they had heard an event and triangulated it to the site [of the sub]," Cameron said.

He said he had made that note on the Monday, making a mockery of the multinational search effort which then unfolded for days.

"It just transformed into this crazy thing," Cameron said.

"Everybody running around with their hair on fire, when we knew right where the sub was.

"Nobody could admit that they didn't have the means to go down and look. So they were running all over the surface and the entire world [was] waiting with bated breath.

"We all knew they were dead. We'd already hoisted a toast to our fallen comrades on [the] Monday night." 

Cameron personally knew the fifth man onboard, Paul-Henry Nargeolet. The 77-year-old former French navy diver and renowned explorer was a friend who Cameron had got to know through the diving community and while working on his own submersible to head to the Titanic's wreck.

"For him to have died tragically in this way is almost impossible for me to process," Cameron told ABC News at the time.

The director has visited the site of the sunken Titanic 33 times.