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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Two missing as Sandy sinks tall ship HMS Bounty
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 29, 2012


Waves crash against a previously damaged pier before landfall of Hurricane Sandy October 29, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Storm-driven waves crashed ashore and flooded seafront communities across a swathe of the eastern United States as Hurricane Sandy barreled towards land. Officials warned that the threat to life and property was "unprecedented" and ordered hundreds of thousands of residents in cities and towns from New England to North Carolina to evacuate their homes and seek shelter. Photo courtesy AFP.

A replica of the HMS Bounty that featured in Hollywood movies got caught in towering waves spawned by Hurricane Sandy Monday, forcing the crew to abandon ship. Fourteen sailors survived but two remain missing.

The 55-meter (180-foot) three-mast ship, built in 1960 for the film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlin Brando that came out two years later, eventually sank in the fierce seas, its owner said.

This voyage, with the ship's permanent, paid crew, left from Connecticut last week and had been due to arrive in Florida on November 10, said Tracey Simonin, director of the ship's owner, The HMS Bounty Organization.

The ship was off the coast of North Carolina when it radioed in a distress call Sunday night.

Before dawn Monday, with the ship lacking power and taking on water and the crew unable to pump fast enough, they abandoned ship and took to two life boats in cold water survival suits and life jackets, the US Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard helicopters ended up plucking 14 crew members out of the raging water. As of Monday afternoon there was still no sign of the two missing crew members, Simonin said.

At the time of the rescue the Bounty was being buffeted by 40 mile-per-hour (65 kilometers-per-hour) winds and 18-foot (five-meter) waves.

One chopper first rescued five people and a second one got nine out of the water, the Coast Guard said.

A Coast Guard C-130 plane first spotted the plane and made contact when the vessel was 90 miles (144 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

At that time the vessel was approximately 160 miles (250 kilometers) west of the eye of Sandy, a monstrous storm which was bearing down on the US east coast Monday evening.

The HMS Bounty was a replica of the eponymous British transport vessel known for the mutiny that took place in Tahiti in 1789.

Besides being used in documentaries and Hollywood movies, including "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" with Johnny Depp, the vessel offered tours for people to learn about 18th century square-rigged sailing.

Storm-driven waves crashed ashore and flooded seafront communities across the US East Coast later Monday as Hurricane Sandy hit land amid catastrophic predictions.

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