Sandy claims Mutiny on the Bounty ship

2012-10-30 08:47
The HMS Bounty submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy. (US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski, AP)

The HMS Bounty submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy. (US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Elizabeth City — 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 at the top of the mighty ship's submerged masts. The roiling Atlantic Ocean had claimed the rest.

The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members by helicopter on 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, Florida, 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 66. Everyone aboard knew the journey could be treacherous.

Calculated decision

"This will be a tough voyage for Bounty," read a posting on the ship's Facebook page that showed a map of its co-ordinates 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 on 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."

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

9m-high waves


"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 9m high during the rescue. The Coast Guard said in a news release that waves in many places topped out around 5 1/2m.

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.

Uncharacteristically quiet

The crew member who was found unresponsive, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was taken to a hospital in Elizabeth City, where she was listed in critical condition on Monday evening.

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, Georgia, 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.

Sprague said her daughter told her the ship's diesel engines failed, and then it started taking on water.

The crew was eager to return to St Petersburg — and to calmer waters.

'Not a good time'


"I know they were very much looking forward to being here," said Carol Everson, general manager of the pier where the vessel docks. "They were very excited about coming down."

The Bounty's captain, Robin Walbridge, is from St Petersburg, she said.

Wallbridge learned to sail at age 10, according to his biography on the Bounty's website. Prior to the Bounty, he served as first mate on the HMS Rose — the Bounty's sister ship.

A man who answered the door at a home listed as being owned by the captain and his wife said: "Not a good time," and closed the door.

Foster said the city on Florida's Gulf Coast always considered itself the ship's home.

"We're feeling a real sense of loss as a community," he said. "We grew up with the Bounty."

Multi-million dollar restoration

Foster, who was raised in St Petersburg, remembered the ship as a family tourist attraction along the waterfront in the 1960s and 1970s. He recalled replicas of caves, a history display and pirate-themed exhibits near the Bounty. As a teenager, he attended dances on the ship.

About 10 years ago, the ship underwent a multimillion-dollar restoration.

The ship generally travels in the spring and summer. In August, large crowds greeted it when sailing into St Augustine, Florida, Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

- Are you there or do you know people there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.
- AP
Read more on:    us  |  weather  |  us superstorm
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job 2014-10-30 08:00

You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. Here are 5 of the most important things you should find out about a company before you sign up.

/News
 

10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big thing....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.