HMS Bounty: 'We will bring our captain home'

Posted October 31, 2012 10:37 a.m. EDT
Updated October 31, 2012 5:47 p.m. EDT

— 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.