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HMS Bounty: 15 of the 16 crew members were found

Ian Harvey

Hurricane Sandy proved to be destructive in another way – the HMS Bounty was out on the ocean when it was caught in the middle of the 2012 storm.  The US Coastguard intervened to try to rescue any survivors, however not all the crew members of the boat made it to safety.

The Coast Guard was able to recover 15 of the 16 crew members.  The last to be recovered yet is  ship’s captain, Robin Walbridge, whom is presumed to be dead.  The first crew member to be found was Claudene Christian, who was pulled from the water unresponsive, but alive.  However, she was later pronounced dead.  She was 42 years old.

The crew of the ship was forced to abandon the vessel off the east coast of America when they knew the ship would not be coming out of the eye of the storm.  Two coast guard helicopters rescued 14 people from the raging seas near the eye of Hurricane Sandy.

Christian’s mother talked to her daughter the night before the tragedy; Claudene would not be able to be contacted while they were at sea, making that the last time they talked to each other.  Claudene had told her mother that the ship had started taking on some water after the generator went out on that Sunday.  The boat was making a voyage from Connecticut to Florida.

The Coast Guard reported that there were nearly 6-meter waves that took out the decks of the 180-foot boat.  The waves first knocked out the ship’s power and that is when the crew took to the lifeboats.

The boat, a replica used in the 1962 Marlon Brando movie Mutiny on the Bounty, became stranded near North Carolina during the monstrous hurricane.  Before the rescue crew could save it, the waters had become too dangerous and the boat was left to be sucked up by the ocean.  The ship is now considered a ghost ship, destroyed by the worst hurricane to hit America.

Photos of the tragedy are haunting.  One photo is of Claudene Christian, the crew member who was rescued but later died.  Another is of the tips of the boat’s masts – all there is left of the rapidly sinking boat.  Several photos shown are those of Coast Guard members bringing up one person at a time to the helicopter.  Several of the people photographed were injured from either the rescue mission or by just trying to survive the wicked waves.

Other photos include the boat before the tragedy, looking beautiful and in mint condition.  The boat was built in Nova Scotia in 1962 just for the movie.  The sails were hand sewn and the rope was rigged before filming.  Four hundred thousand feet of lumber was used to build the ship and 10,000 square feet of canvas was used for the sails.  The ship was supposed to have been burned in the movie, however Marlon Brando had grown attached to it and threatened to leave the movie unfinished if the boat was destroyed.  The boat was then purchased at a cost of nearly $4.6 million dollars. It is a shame it had to end as badly as it did.  However, the Coast Guard obviously saw the dangers in trying to save both the boat and the crew members.  Thankfully, the Coast Guard was able to get to the wreckage in time to help the crew members.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News