(The Hill) — James Cameron, the director of the 1997 film “Titanic,” said on Thursday that he was “struck” by the similarities between the sinking of the actual ship in 1912 and the recent “catastrophic implosion” of the Titan submersible during a dive to see the wreck.

“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,” Cameron told ABC News

“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 is just astonishing,” he added. “It’s really quite surreal.”

Cameron, who has himself made 33 dives to the wreck of the Titanic, noted that several people had previously expressed concerns about the Titan submersible’s tourist expeditions.

“A number of the top players in this deep-submergence engineering community even wrote letters to the company, saying that what they were doing was too experimental to carry passengers and that it needed to be certified,” he said.

The Titan went missing on Sunday during a visit to the wreck, spurring a frantic search and rescue effort. The U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday that a remotely operated vehicle had found a debris field near the Titanic that was “consistent with catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber.”

The five passengers on board the submersible — OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, British adventurer Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman, and French explorer and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet — are believed to be dead.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” OceanGate said in a statement. “Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time.”

“We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew,” the company added.