Cameron pays tribute to ‘heroes’ who built Titanic

The Belfast shipbuilders of the Titanic are “unsung heroes” who made it possible for many of the passengers to escape, film director James Cameron said yesterday.

The maker of the Oscar-winning movie was in the city to launch the first exhibition dedicated to the film at the Titanic Belfast visitor centre.

Cameron praised human intervention for keeping the ship from rolling as it sank, as engineers from Harland and Wolff used pumps to move water around and prevent the ship from tipping over on its side.

This vital intervention allowed lifeboats to be lowered to evacuate people.

“I believe firmly that they are the unsung heroes of Titanic, that kept that ship upright, the stately image that we all think of when we think of Titanic sinking,” he said.

“It is important for us to continue to look back at history. There are still lessons to be learned, there were heroes on board the ship that we did not even realise how important they were... and they were Belfast men.”

Titanic won 11 Oscars after its original release in 1997. A 3D version was produced to coincide with the centenary of the vessel’s sinking earlier this year.

Cameron and producer Jon Landau opened the exhibition which features props and costumes from some of the film’s most memorable scenes. There are some items from Cameron’s personal collection, including the ship’s wheel and other technical equipment. Costumes have been borrowed from 20th Century Fox, including the originals worn by the film’s stars, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, in their final scenes.

The museum is 100 yards from where Titanic’s hull was launched and beside it is the drawing office where she was designed. She set sail from the city’s River Lagan.

Shortly before midnight on Apr 14, 1912, the liner, on its way to New York, struck an iceberg. It sank less than three hours later, killing 1,517 people.

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