UPDATE: The Coast Guard says the Bounty's longtime captain, Robin Walbridge, remained missing as night fell Monday, while the body of the second, deckhand Claudine Christian, was found Monday evening. The HMS Bounty sank off the North Carolina coast Monday morning.
As the entire East Coast of the United States prepares for Hurricane Sandy, the storm has already caused havoc along parts of the Eastern seaboard. One potential casualty of the hurricane’s wrath is a beloved ship with an important Hollywood history.
NBC reports that a Coast Guard rescue operation is underway to remove 17 crew members from life boats after they abandoned the replica HMS Bounty late Sunday night. The 180-foot-long three-mast ship is a replica that was built for use in Marlon Brando’s 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty.
Sources say the ship was out to sea somewhere near Hatteras, North Carolina when it lost power and began taking on water. No one is sure why the vessel, which tours the country promoting maritime history, was out in the dangerous waters. The vessel’s next showing was scheduled for November 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The ship is apparently still upright and intact, but is surrounded by high seas and tropical storm-force winds.
The crew of the Bounty sent out a distress signal when they realized the boat was in trouble, then donned life jackets and cold-water suits before boarding canopied life boats. The Coast Guard is currently removing them from the life boats with a helicopter.
Here’s to hoping the crew makes it out safe and sound – and that maybe the Bounty weathers this storm and lives to sail another day.