A famous submarine that took filmmaker James Cameron to the deepest place on earth may be a total loss after catching fire en route from Massachusetts to Maryland on a Connecticut highway.
It happened around 5 a.m. Thursday while a flatbed was transporting the DeepSea Challenger on Interstate 95 in North Stonington.
North Stonington Fire Marshal George Brennan said investigators believe the flatbed's brakes malfunctioned, igniting the rear tires, which in turn ignited the submarine. A photo posted by state police showed significant black scorching on the vessel's bright-green hull.
He believes damage to the DeepSea Challenger is significant and the submarine is likely a loss, which Brennan called unfortunate because "the whole piece of history is destroyed."
The DeepSea Challenger brought filmmaker and ocean explorer James Cameron to the deepest point in the Mariana Trench near Guam in 2012. Brennan said the submarine is worth $8-12 million.
Cameron later donated the submarine to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
The sub was supposed to be shipped from Baltimore to Australia on temporary loan. It's now back in in possession of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.