Hurricanes

HMS Bounty: 'We will bring our captain home'

Posted October 31, 2012

— The HMS Bounty Organization pledged Wednesday to find the captain of the tall ship that sank in the Atlantic during Hurricane Sandy's third day off the North Carolina coast.

"We will bring our captain home," the organization said in a statement, adding that plans are also under way to salvage the ship.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill said Wednesday morning that a cutter searched for ship captain Robin Walbridge overnight and that two C-130 planes would join the search during the day.

The HMS Bounty, a replica of an 18th century tall ship, set sail last week and ran into the powerful storm that was moving up the East Coast.

On Sunday evening, the Bounty's crew sent word that there was an electrical problem on board. Walbridge said the situation was under control and could wait until morning. The Coast Guard was notified and stayed in contact with the ship through the night.

But by early Monday, the Bounty was taking on water and its engines had failed. Around 4:30 a.m., the organization said, Walbridge ordered his crew to don survival suits and life preservers and abandon ship.

The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members by hoisting them on to Jayhawk helicopters. Another crew member, Claudene Christian, 42, died.

"We would like to thank our brave crew for their efforts and loyalty to the ship," the organization said. "The crew is in the process of returning home to their families to begin the healing process."

The group also thanked the Coast Guard and Red Cross for assisting in the search, rescue and recovery efforts.

The ship was originally built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and was featured in several other films.

13 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • Nope Nov 1, 3:20 p.m.

    "Unlike engine powered vessels which must remain in port"

    She was diesel powered - the engine and bilge pumps failed.

    From story - "But by early Monday, the Bounty was taking on water and its engines had failed."

  • btneast Nov 1, 10:19 a.m.

    Unlike engine powered vessels which must remain in port

    I am not sure that is correct. The Navy pretty much clears all ships out to sea when a hurricane approaches. Storm surges are devastating to vessels in port. It's like having a herd of bulls in a china shop. Most ships are capable of weathering storms like this.....mechanical failure led to this sinking, not the storm overwhelming it.

  • feistyredhead2001 Nov 1, 10:17 a.m.

    Here it is Thursday morning and I find myself still praying for a miracle that the captain is found some where alive and unharmed. I know it may sound silly, but I will stil pray for his safe return as well as my hopes in restoring that beautiful ship.

  • piene2 Nov 1, 9:45 a.m.

    "Can someone explain to me why this ship was at sea rather than in a port somewhere?
    bcnc"

    Yes, because it has been standard procedure, and has been standard procedure all along to take large sail vessels out to sea to ride out storms. Unlike engine powered vessels which must remain in port or run before the storm.

  • bcnc Nov 1, 8:52 a.m.

    Can someone explain to me why this ship was at sea rather than in a port somewhere?

  • shanemane1986 Nov 1, 8:25 a.m.

    I'd hate to say it but if they haven't found him by now, hes gone. Could it be possible that he got trapped inside the ship!?

  • mfarmer1 Oct 31, 7:55 p.m.

    I hope they can find him, the ship, and get it back to dry dock.

  • Xscout577 Oct 31, 6:43 p.m.

    From a pic posted by the Coast Guard, her masts are still visible above the water (30-50 feet of water?). She's about 90 miles off of Hatteras, but if anybody is going to try & salvage her, they'd better hurry before the waves tear her to pieces.

  • doubletrouble Oct 31, 6:33 p.m.

    Wishing for a miracle as well. I hope they find him. Sailors have lasted alot longer, without protective gear that he had, so keep your fingers crossed and the USCG and him in your prayers. His gear not only served to keep him warm, but also was a floatation device.

  • peterpepper Oct 31, 5:44 p.m.

    scubagirl,

    Been wondering the same, maybe he is tangled up inside the ship somewhere.
    Sure hoping for a miracle for the captain here .

More...