Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Search goes on for Bounty's captain

The HMS Bounty submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy (AP/US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski)
Two crew members of the HMS Bounty went missing off the coast of North Carolina

Rescuers are continuing to search for the captain of the sailing ship Bounty, which sank during Hurricane Sandy.

The US Coast Guard said that 63-year-old Robin Walbridge could still be alive in the Gulf Stream waters more than a day after the replica 18th century vessel went down in high winds and waves.

The Coast Guard said the ocean temperature in the search area is nearly 26C

Mr Walbridge went overboard when the ship rolled as the deck slid below 18-foot waves.

When the HMS Bounty set sail from Connecticut last week the captain believed he could navigate around Sandy and weather the storm. After two days in rough seas, he realised his journey would be far more difficult.

"I think we are going to be into this for several days," Mr Walbridge said in a message posted on Sunday on the vessel's Facebook site, which reads like a ship's log of her activities. "We are just going to keep trying to go fast."

By Monday morning, the vessel had started taking on water, its engines failed and the crew had to abandon ship as it went down in the immense waves.

Most were plucked from life rafts shortly after the ship went down, but Claudene Christian was found hours later, unresponsive and floating in the water. She was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital.

By the time the first rescue helicopter arrived, all that was visible of the ship, originally made by Hollywood to feature in Mutiny on the Bounty, was a strobe light on top of the submerged masts.

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