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“Titanic” Film Crew Allegedly Drugged in 1996: Halifax Police Urged to Disclose Further Information

A recent report from Nova Scotia’s information and privacy commissioner may shed light on the perplexing events of August 1996, when numerous crew members of the film “Titanic” found themselves hospitalized after consuming soup tainted with a hallucinogenic substance during filming in Nova Scotia.

The commissioner’s report has urged Halifax Regional Police (HRP) to divulge additional details surrounding the incident, which saw approximately 80 crew members, including director James Cameron, rushed to hospitals in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Initially believed to be a case of food poisoning, it later emerged that the crew had unwittingly ingested lobster chowder laced with phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP or angel dust. Recounting the nightmarish ordeal, crew members described a surreal night marked by chaos and bewilderment, with some even participating in a spontaneous conga line within the hospital premises.

In response to a complaint filed under freedom of information, the commissioner’s scrutiny revealed that while Halifax police had released 10 pages of records initially, significant portions were heavily redacted. Tricia Ralph, Nova Scotia’s information and privacy commissioner, clarified that police were only justified in redacting personal identifying information and not factual accounts provided by witnesses.

Ralph emphasized that details such as names, pronouns, contact information, and work history of third-party witnesses constituted personal information subject to redaction. However, factual observations made by these witnesses, devoid of personal identifiers, were deemed ineligible for redaction under privacy laws.

If Halifax police adhere to Ralph’s recommendations and deadline, records dating back almost three decades could be unveiled as early as mid-May. Despite repeated requests for comment, Halifax Regional Police did not respond promptly. Notably, no suspect was ever identified, and the case reportedly concluded in February 1999.

The “Titanic” crew, primarily in Atlantic Canada to film modern-day scenes unrelated to stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, eventually recovered from the ordeal. Set decorator Claude Roussel fondly recalled actor Bill Paxton’s demeanor during the incident, describing him as amiable and even jovial amidst the chaotic hospital environment.

The commissioner’s report signifies a potential breakthrough in uncovering the truth behind a decades-old mystery, offering hope for closure and clarity to those involved in the unsettling episode.

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