Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this image made from video and released by the U.S. Coast Guard, a USCG rescue swimmer, in water at right, and a crew member use a hoist to bring up a survivors into a helicopter. A replica tall ship caught in Hurricane Sandy's wrath began taking on water, forcing the crew to abandon the boat Monday in rough seas off the North Carolina coast. The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members by helicopter, but two people were still missing. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard)
Hurricane claims famous tall ship off NC coast
First Published Oct 29 2012 06:46 pm • Last Updated Oct 29 2012 10:25 pm

Elizabeth City, N.C. » The final hours of the HMS Bounty were as dramatic as the Hollywood adventure films she starred in, with the crew abandoning ship in life rafts as their stately craft slowly went down in the immense waves churned up by Hurricane Sandy off the North Carolina coast.

By the time the first rescue helicopter arrived, all that was visible of the replica 18th-century sailing vessel was a strobe light atop the mighty ship’s submerged masts. The roiling Atlantic Ocean had claimed the rest.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members by helicopter Monday. Hours later, rescuers found one of the missing crew members, but she was unresponsive. And they were still searching for the captain.

"We pray there’s no loss of life and that they rescue all of the crew," said Bill Foster, mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., a frequent winter port for the ship and where it had been expected to arrive in November. "When a crew decides it’s safer in an inflatable than it is on deck, then you know she’s in peril."

The ship was originally built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando, and it was featured in several other films over the years, including one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

The vessel left Connecticut on Thursday with a crew of 11 men and five women, ranging in age from 20 to 63. Everyone aboard knew the journey could be treacherous.

"This will be a tough voyage for Bounty," read a posting on the ship’s Facebook page that showed a map of its coordinates and satellite images of the storm.

The Bounty’s Facebook page reads like a ship’s log of her activities, with many photos of the majestic vessel plying deep blue waters and the crew working in the rigging or keeping watch on the wood-planked deck.

As Sandy’s massive size became more apparent, a post on Saturday tried to soothe any worried supporters: "Rest assured that the Bounty is safe and in very capable hands. Bounty’s current voyage is a calculated decision ... NOT AT ALL ... irresponsible or with a lack of foresight as some have suggested. The fact of the matter is ... A SHIP IS SAFER AT SEA THAN IN PORT!"

But as the storm gathered strength, the Facebook posts grew grimmer. By mid-morning Monday, the last update was short and ominous: "Please bear with us ... There are so many conflicting stories going on now. We are waiting for some confirmation."


story continues below
story continues below

Tracie Simonin, director of the HMS Bounty Organization, said the ship tried to stay clear of Sandy’s power.

"It was something that we and the captain of the ship were aware of," Simonin said.

Coast Guard video of the rescue showed crew members being loaded one by one into a basket before the basket was hoisted into the helicopter.

When they returned to the mainland, some were wrapped in blankets, still wearing the blazing red survival suits they put on to stay warm in the chilly waters.

"It’s one of the biggest seas I’ve ever been in. It was huge out there," said Coast Guard rescue swimmer Randy Haba, who helped pluck four crew members off one of the canopied life rafts and a fifth who was bobbing alone in the waves.

A helicopter pilot said the waves appeared to be 30 feet high during the rescue. The Coast Guard said in a news release that waves in many places topped out around 18 feet.

The survivors received medical attention and were to be interviewed for a Coast Guard investigation. The Coast Guard did not make them available to reporters.

The crew member who was found unresponsive, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was being taken to a hospital, the Coast Guard said.

The mother of another crew member, 20-year-old Anna Sprague, said her daughter had been aboard the HMS Bounty since May.

Mary Ellen Sprague, of Savannah, Ga., said she had spoken with her daughter twice but didn’t know many details because her daughter, normally talkative and outgoing, was being uncharacteristically quiet.

"She’s very upset," Sprague said by telephone.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.