Protests By Survivors' Families Prompt Chinese Theme Park to Scrap Titanic Disaster 'Attraction'

Bernard Hill (3rd R), actor of captain Edward Smith in the 1997 Titanic movie, poses with Su Shaojun (2nd R), CEO of Seven-Star Energy Investment Group (SSEG), during a news conference in Hong Kong January 12, 2014. |

China is building a full-size replica of the RMS Titanic or a full-scale reconstruction of the Olympic-class ocean liner. Proponents assure that the fully functioning replica will look similar to the original ill-fated vessel which remains to be regarded as the most famous ship of all time.

The Titanic replica is part of a grand theme park taking shape in Suining, Dying County, Sichuan province. Construction work began in May 2014 and was expected to be completed late next year for $135.45 million, but it was not supposed to be open to the public until 2019, BBC reported.

One unique feature of the attraction was to provide guests with the "6D holiday experience" of hitting an iceberg and sinking. "We will let people experience water coming in using sound and (LED) light effects," Shaojun Su, founder of the $1.55 billion Romandisea theme park, said in 2014.

"They will think, 'The water will drown me. I must escape for my life," Su went on to say. More than 1,500 crew and passengers died when the Titanic sank during its maiden voyage from Southampton, England on April 15, 1912, five days after it set sail. A 1997 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet immortalized the disaster.

The feature, however, was scrapped after relatives of survivors condemned the plan to be in "bad taste." Jean Legg, whose father was a steward on the ship, didn't like the plan to use the tragedy as a tourist attraction. "My dad lived to be nearly 90 and the sights and sounds of people fighting for their lives stayed with him to the end of his days," she said.

Bruce Beveridge, the American author of a two-volume book on the Titanic said he agreed to come on board the project as head of the design team after the owner agreed to drop the iceberg attraction. "It was shelved back in January when they hired me as design supervisor. I told them, 'Do not do this, it's in bad taste,'" he said.

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