A hydraulic fluid leak cut short director James Cameron’s deep-sea dive, during which he successfully plunged to the Earth’s deepest point and re-emerged Sunday night on the surface of the Pacific Ocean, reports NationalGeographic.com.
As previously reported, Cameron, who directed the box office hits "Titanic" and “Avatar,” planned to tape scenes from the lowest point of the Mariana Trench for a documentary to air on the National Geographic Channel.
Cameron spent about three hours at the Earth’s deepest point, instead of the six hours he had planned, in part because of the leak, according to National Geographic. Because of the leak, Cameron wasn’t able to pick up rock and animal samples with his vessel’s mechanical arm, the story notes.
"I couldn’t pick anything up, so I began to feel like it was a moment of diminishing returns to go on," he said. He added that hydraulic oil coated the port because of the leak, according to the article.
Describing what he saw around him, Cameron noted, "I didn’t feel like I got to a place where I could take interesting geology samples or found anything interesting biologically." He added that the landscape was "bleak" and "looked like the moon."
"I lost a lot of thrusters. I lost the whole starboard side. That’s when I decided to come up. I couldn’t go any further — I was just spinning in a circle," he said.
The vessel took about 70 minutes to travel nearly 7 miles to the surface, which Cameron described as "screaming back up," according to the article.
The director was optimistic, however, the piece notes.
"Next dive," he said. "Gotta leave something for the next one."