Cinematographer Who Almost Got Stuck in Titanic Shipwreck Describes His Experience

The missing Titan submerisble, left, 3D scan of the Titanic shipwreck, right.

A cinematographer has revealed what it is like to be stuck over two miles deep in the Atlantic Ocean amid the Titanic shipwreck.

Norweigan photographer Per-Inge Schei has strong sympathies for the five people currently inside the missing submarine in the North Atlantic where a massive search is ongoing in a desperate bid to save their lives.

Schei is one of a handful of people who have seen the Titanic wreck up close and spent 36 hours on the seabed in 1991 to film the IMAX documentary Titanica. However, his own mission experienced difficulties and Schei had a near-death experience.

“We had used a lot of electricity when we were filming. The battery capacity was therefore low, something we experienced during the preparations for the ascent,” Schei tells NRK, a Norweigan broadcasting company.

It meant the crew had to turn off all the electrical equipment and sit in the dark at the bottom of the ocean in the Titanic’s debris field. They drank tea to keep themselves warm.

“The idea was to give the battery time to balance. It was quiet and there was little talk in the submarine,” says Schei.

Schei and his comrades waited an hour before they got life back into the submarine and could begin the ascent. The cinematographer believes he was lucky not to get stuck in the seabed as there is a lot of debris in the shipwreck’s vicinity.

“There is so much mud in the sea and little current at the very bottom. In the blink of an eye we had to stand still because we couldn’t see anything, and had to wait until the water was clear again,” he tells NRK.

“It doesn’t take long before you don’t see anything. The bottom sludge looks like dense smoke due to the propellers. We came to the surface with some destroyed equipment after a collision with wreckage.”

‘Panic and Anger’

Schei expressed compassion for the missing crew inside Titan and is extremely worried about them.

“They must feel anger and panic. In such a situation, they should be calm, but they probably aren’t,” he says.

“Even though they have air for 96 hours, it is the same air that is cleaned of carbon. Therefore, this is not optimal. I don’t know how well-dressed they are, but it will be quite humid down there. With a temperature of 1–2 degrees [Celcius], this can be cold,” he adds.

The U.S. Coast Guard says that underwater noises have been heard which could be the crew banging on the inside of the Titan submersible. Underwater drones have been deployed but have yielded no results so far. Time is running out for the five people onboard.