HMS Bounty, a 180-foot, three-masted sailing vessel, has sunk off the coast of North Carolina due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopters rescued 14 people from life rafts in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C., Monday, and two people remain missing, according to a Coast Guard press release.
The Coast Guard was contacted by the owner of the ship, who said he had lost all contact with the vessel late Sunday evening. Shortly after, the 5th District Command Center received a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) registered to the Bounty, which confirmed the position of the ship and that it was in distress.
The Bounty, a replica of the original that was built in Nova Scotia for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty, was “reportedly taking on water and was without propulsion. On scene weather is reported to be 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas,” according to the release. Unlike the original, the replica Bounty had a marine diesel as an adjunct to its sails, but this apparently failed or was disabled. The Bounty’s 16 crewmembers had all donned cold water survival suits and abandoned the ship for two 25-man life rafts with canopies.
Coast Guard aircrew from Air Station Elizabeth City launched aboard an HC-130 Hercules aircraft, which after arriving on scene established communications with the Bounty‘s crew in the lifeboats.
The first Jayhawk crew arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 a.m. and hoisted five people into the aircraft, and a second helicopter arrived and rescued nine people, the press release read.
The 14 people were flown to Air Station Elizabeth City to be met by waiting emergency medical services personnel.
The Hercules remained on scene to search for the two missing crew members, and a third Jayhawk crew was en route to assist search and rescue efforts at the time the press release was issued. Update: One of the two missing crew members, Claudene Christian, was rescued, but died later in the hospital. The captain, Robin Walbridge, 63, is still missing.