The star of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie – the ship Bounty – has sunk off the North Carolina coast in Hurricane Sandy. One crew member is dead and the captain is missing after the ship failed to survive the storm.
As the ship’s engines failed, the crew put on survival suits before abandoning the vessel as it went down in the immense waves, AP reported.
The Bounty set sail last week, but after two days in rough seas captain Robin Walbridge posted a message on the vessel's Facebook site, saying "I think we are going to be into this for several days," noting that the crew was "just going to keep trying to go fast."
By Monday morning, however, it became clear that the vessel failed to survive the storm. Most of the sailors were plucked from life rafts shortly after the ship went down. 42 year-old Claudene Christian was found hours later, unresponsive and floating in the water. She was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. The rest of the crew was reported in good condition.
According to AP, by the time the first rescue helicopter arrived at the scene, all that was visible of the replica 18th-century sailing vessel was a strobe light atop the ship's submerged masts. The Atlantic Ocean had claimed the rest.
The final hours of the Bounty were as frightening as the movies she once appeared in.
"When a crew decides it's safer in an inflatable than it is on deck, then you know she's in peril," Bill Foster, Mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., a frequent winter port for the ship was quoted as saying.
The vessel was originally built for the 1962 Hollywood adventure starring Marlon Brando, ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ and has featured in several 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.
"This will be a tough voyage for Bounty," warned a posting on the ship's Facebook page showing a map of its coordinates and satellite images of the storm.
As Sandy's impact started to gain momentum, another post appeared: "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!"
Later on the Facebook posts grew more alarming, one of them said “one of Bounty's generators has failed….they are taking on more water than they would like.”
The latest update posted on the Facebook page said 14 crew members have been safely returned to land. “There were 16 brave crew members aboard the Bounty. With sadness in our hearts we are reporting that we have lost one crew member and still missing another. The USCG is continuing their effort to search for our last crew member.”
The Bounty's captain was from St. Petersburg. Prior to the Bounty, he served as first mate on the H.M.S. Rose, the Bounty's sister ship.