Replica HMS Bounty caught in storm; 14 crew rescued

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 4:05am

Replica sailing ship HMS Bounty became a casualty of Hurricane Sandy, with 16 crew abandoning the vessel after it lost power in the storm's path off North Carolina, the US Coast Guard said.

All but two of the crew had been rescued, it said. A C-130 Hercules aircraft was searching for the two missing about 260 kilometres from the eye of the storm and a third rescue helicopter was on its way, the coastguard said.

"The 16 people donned cold-water survival suits and life jackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies," the marine rescue service said.

The tall ship was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando and also appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

The ship was on its way from New London, Connecticut, to St Petersburg, Florida, said Tracie Simonin, director of the Bounty.

She said she was unsure how the captain attempted to navigate in the storm.

"The last we heard the ship was still upright," Simonin said, providing some hope that the vessel could still be saved.

However, the three-masted, 55-metre ship was believed to be taking on water and was without power in 65km/h winds and 5.5 metre seas, the coastguard said.

The original Bounty gained infamy for a mutiny by its crew off the Pacific island of Tahiti in 1789.