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Tall Ships star HMS Bounty sunk by Hurricane Sandy

By Linda Stewart

The star of 2009’s Tall Ships event in Belfast has fallen victim to Hurricane Sandy.

HMS Bounty, which played the Black Pearl in the hit Pirates Of The Caribbean movie franchise, sank off the coast of North Carolina yesterday morning after taking on water.

As six-metre waves and 40mph gales battered the 55-metre three-master knocking out its power, crew members issued a distress signal late on Sunday.

Update: Storm-hit Bounty crew member dies

Early on Monday morning 16 crew members were forced to climb into lifeboats and abandon ship. Bounty sank hours later.

The US Coastguard said three crew members were washed overboard as they tried to get to two covered life rafts.

Only one of the three made it to the life raft and was among the 14 people hoisted onto helicopters.

The two missing crew members — a man thought to be the captain and a woman crew member — are believed to be in cold water survival suits and lifejackets.

Reports were coming in late last night that the female crew member had been recovered in an “unresponsive” condition.

An air search is being carried out based on wind direction and speed.

The historic replica, a square-rigger, was built for the 1962 film Mutiny On The Bounty, starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian, but is now best known for playing the Black Pearl in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

The boat was a replica of the original Bounty that was famously hit by mutiny more than 200 years ago and was one of more

than 35 ships that crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 to dock close to Belfast’s Odyssey Arena as part of the Tall Ships North Atlantic Challenge.

It wasn’t her first visit to Northern Ireland as she stopped off in Derry in 2007 as she was about to embark on a tour of UK ports.

There have been conflicting reports over the fate of the crew members after Monday’s disaster — the BBC reported that all 16 had been rescued, but the US Coastguard said 14 people were rescued by two Coastguard helicopters and taken to Air Station Elizabeth City on the North Carolina coast.

Officials have spoken to all 14 survivors and say they are all “in good shape”.

HMS Bounty operated as a sea school and was most recently in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in July for the Tall Ships Festival.

Bounty in Belfast

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