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Why James Cameron was forced to surface early

James Cameron described the Mariana Trench as "very lunar, a very desolate place, very isolated.” His six hour trip was cut in half by hydraulic problems.

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Filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron emerges from the Deepsea Challenger submersible after his successful solo dive to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, Monday March 26, 2011.

(AP Photo/Mark Theissen, National Geographic)

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"Titanic" film director James Cameron  has completed the world's first solo dive to the deepest-known point on Earth, reaching the bottom of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench southwest of Guam in a specially designed submarine.

Cameron planned to stay as long as six hours but a hydraulic leak forced the mission to be cut short.

"I lost hydraulics toward the latter part of dive, and I was unable to use the manipulator arm," Cameron said Monday morning during a post-dive press conference held aboard the Octopus, a yacht owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, according to National Geographic.

The filmmaker arrived at the site known as "Challenger Deep" shortly before 8 a.m. local time on Monday (6 p.m. Sunday E.T.), reaching a depth of 35,756 feet, or roughly 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface, said the National Geographic Society, which is overseeing the expedition.

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Cameron's first words to the surface on reaching the bottom following a descent that took two hours and 36 minutes were "All systems OK," National Geographic said on its website.

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