UPDATE: Coast Guard Continues Search for HMS Bounty Captain

Fourteen rescued after abandoning ship; one crew member later died after being recovered.

Update Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.: Coast Guard officials continued their search for the missing captain of the HMS Bounty, 63-year-old Capt. Robert Walbridge.

Walbridge is the lone member of the Bounty crew unaccounted for after the ship was abandoned 90 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

According to the Coast Guard, the search for Walbridge has expanded to 145 miles off the coast, and the search radius consists of about 1,500 square nautical miles.

The 378-foot cutter Gallatian, homeported in Charleston, S.C., arrived on scene Tuesday afternoon to aid in the search. Coming from Atlantic Beach, N.C. overnight was the 225-foot cutter Elm.

"As of now, our intent is to continue searching for the missing person," said Capt. Doug Cameron, the chief of incident response for the Coast Guard 5th District. "This is still an active search, not a recovery effort. Factors such as fitness of the member, weather conditions, survival equipment and the results from previous searches are taken into consideration to determine how long the Coast Guard will search."

The water was reportedly measuring 77 degrees, air temperature is 64 degrees, seas are 12 feet, and the winds are 30 mph.

Update, Tuesday 8:12 a.m: Claudene Christian, the sailor rescued from the HMS Bounty has died, ABC News is reporting.

Update, 8:00 p.m.: Several news agencies – including Patch – reported on Monday evening that Claudene Christian, 42, was dead. Patrick Detwiler, spokesman for Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City, said Monday evening that Christian is in critical condition.

Update, 6:20 p.m.: The United States Coast Guard confirmed Monday evening that the body of one of the missing crew members of the HMS Bounty was recovered, and rescuers were still searching for the captain of the ship.

Coast Guard officials said that Claudene Christian, 42, was "unresponsive" when recovered 90 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

Capt. Robert Walbridge, 63, is still reported as missing.

Update, 9:50 a.m.: United States Coast Guard officials said two crew members of the storied HMS Bounty are still missing in the waters outside Cape Hatteras, N.C. after stormy seas forced the crew to abandon ship.

The Coast Guard, in a statement Monday morning, said 14 members of the crew were rescued by helicopters and sent to Air Station Elizabeth City where they will be treated.

A military aircraft is still searching the area.

Original story: Crew members of the celebrated HMS Bounty tall ship have abandoned ship off Cape Hatteras, N.C., in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

According to the United States Coast Guard, the 16-person crew has all been accounted for though remain in choppy seas, adrift in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies.

The ship, which was recently a popular tourist attraction in both Greenport and Port Jefferson, is a replica of HMS Bounty, which launched in Lunenburg in 1960 and was made famous in the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty," featuring Marlon Brando. It has also appeared in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" starring Johnny Depp.

Coast Guard officials are weighing whether rescue mission can be conducted in the rough weather.

Coast Guard in a statement said the evacuation of the Bounty took place among 18-foot seas and 40 mile-per-hour winds, and that the 180-foot ship was taking on water due to improper propulsion.

The HMS Bounty's Facebook page called the Coast Guard report "premature" and only 14 of the 17 crew members had been accounted for. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report claimed that 16 of 17 were hoisted to safety, and said that the ship sank hours after the evacuation.

The Coast Guard's North Carolina sector reported receiving a call from the owner of HMS Bounty, saying she had lost communication with the vessel's crew late Sunday evening. Coast Guard officials said an air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City was dispatched, which later arrived on scene and reestablished communications with the Bounty's crew.

According to the ship's Facebook page, the vessel departed New London on Oct. 25 after spending two days in port there.

The Bounty's Facebook page stated on Oct. 25, "Bounty will be sailing due East out to sea before heading South to avoid the brunt of Hurricane Sandy."

The Bounty is owned by the HMS Bounty Organization, based out of East Setauket. Tracie Simonin, president of the HMS Bounty Organization, told FoxNews.com, "They were staying in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center. They were trying to make it around the storm."

Editors note: The Coast Guard earlier reported the crew was 17 members.

Dirk Langeveld contributed to this report.

Mels Ditties October 29, 2012 at 01:47 PM
How very sad....I remember when she was in Port Harbor..,...I hope when the storm is over, there will be a way to bring her back from the brink....
Mels Ditties October 29, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Prayers for a rescue for the missing crewmen....
BOB PALADIN October 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM
they were a very hospitable crew when we were on the tour and on board hope they all find a safe harbor
Tony Vitale October 29, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I believe this ship is owned by a local three village resident.
Joseph Pinciaro (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Thank you Tony, I meant to add that reference in earlier. It's been plugged in.
ABetterWayforRiverhead October 29, 2012 at 11:29 PM
My thoughts and prayers go out to the crew and their families. They were all very hospitable when we were on board while docked in Greenport this summer. The ship was replicated beautifully and we're glad we made the effort to tour it.
Mels Ditties October 29, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Prayers to all, the found crew woman and the hope the captain is found quickly (and with some luck, alive).... So far from home, but so connected after their visit last year...
Zac S October 30, 2012 at 03:40 AM
I hope the owner of the ship has his ass sued off!!! He surely will lose all the insurance money if miss Claudene fails in her battle for life. The organisation surely condoned if not ordered the vessel's departure from New London. Your local 3 resident is about to be in the poor house, if not jail.
Concerned October 30, 2012 at 11:11 AM
I couldn't agree more Zac. The owner of the ship hasn't even had the decency to make a public announcement regarding his crew and this tragedy. The woman they keep referring to in these reports is the administrator for the ship but she does not own the ship. It is a local Three Village man that owns the ship.
Mels Ditties October 31, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Just so very sad...for the crew, the fallen crew member & the Captain, who appears to have gone down with the ship....My thoughts & prayers with them all... IF, indeed the ship's owners ordered the ship to sea, heading into what was described as "the perfect storm", may they forever feel those lost souls in their hearts...and be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!
jack stillwaggon November 02, 2012 at 01:53 AM
I sailed on the Bounty in June of 1965 from OysterBay NY to Port Everglades FL after working on her during the 1st summer of the Worlds Fair. We faced very high waves and 3 fires in the first 3 days. It was quite an adventure. I wrote n account in a recently published book available on Amazon called "Sailing - Philosophy for Everyone". I also recommend reading the original "Mutiny on the Bounty".


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