Monday, October 29, 2012

Horror on the High Seas: The Sinking of HMS Bounty

I had a lovely post about mermaids eating people (seriously; the originals did that) planned for today, but this morning's tragic loss of the HMS Bounty warrants more attention than women with fish tails. Hurricane Sandy has claimed a little piece of history, and two of her crew are still missing. This is the kind of horror that our ancestors faced every time they put out to sea, and here it is right in front of us.

From Bounty's Facebook page:

We received a distress call from Bounty at 1830 Sunday evening that the Ship lost power and her pumps were unable to keep up with the dewatering. At that time we immediately contacted the USCG for assistance.

Bounty had departed Connecticut late last week bound for St. Petersburg, Florida according to Hampton Roads online via the HMS Bounty Organization. The ship, manned by a crew of 16, hoped to sail around the hurricane. It is reasonable to imagine that no one knew at the time Bounty set out just how formidably large Sandy would become.

The Coast Guard managed to rescue 14 members of the crew, all of whom had abandon ship when Bounty took on more water than her pumps could handle. The men were lifted into Jayhawk helicopters and taken safely to the Coast Guard Air Station at Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The other 2 crewmen, who as of this writing have yet to be found, were reported to be in survival suits and wearing personal floatation devises. The search continues for both sailors.

Bounty, a 180 foot three masted frigate-type, was built in 1962 for the Marlon Brando vehicle Mutiny on the Bounty. She has been used in several movies since, most notably Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series. She now rests below wave off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Though the loss of Bounty is surely felt by those of us who love the sea, in the immortal words of Dominique Youx, one can always get another ship. I'm sure I speak for the Brethren when I say that our hearts go out to those who love the men still missing, and we pray for their quick and safe return.

Header: HMS Bounty July, 2010; Assoc Press file photo by Mark Duncan via Hampton Roads

Update 6:40 PM Alaska Time:

According to HMS Bounty's Facebook page, one of the two missing crewmen, Claudene Christian, has been found. She has, tragically, passed away. Bounty's captain is now the only mariner still missing. Please keep everyone involved in this horrible tragedy in your thoughts and prayers. 

Update 8:01 AM Alaska Time:

Please see the comments on this post and/or continue to check HMS Bounty's Facebook page for updated information. As of this writing, Captain Walbridge has not yet been located. Please continue to send positive energy his way; we pray for his safe return. 


Timmy! said...

That truly is horrific, Pauline. Thank goodness for the coasties and let us alll hope and pray for the safe return of the two missing crew members.

To all the brethren in harms way due to hurricane Sandy, please take care and stay safe!

Pauline said...

Amen to all of that Timmy!

It is my understanding now that Bounty's captain is one of the two missing mariners.

Blue Lou Logan said...

One of the missing crew has been found as of the latest, but the cap'n is still missing. Zanne just let me know, and I looked online immediately.

This is heartbreaking, but at least it was the ship and not her crew.

Blue Lou Logan said...

The latest is that one of the crew has been found, but the captain is still missing. I just learned about this from Zanne, and I immediately went online.

This is heartbreaking, but at least it was only the ship and not her crew.

Pauline said...

Thanks for the update, Lou. I'll keep an eye on this and update the post as appropriate.

Charles L. Wallace said...

As of Tuesday morning, Captain Walbridge remained missing. The other missing crew member who was recovered sadly has passed away - she was Claudene Christian, a former Miss Teen Alaska and said to be a distant relative of Fletcher Christian. Rest in Peace, Miss Christian. May the Lord hear our prayers for Captain Walbridge.

Capt. John Swallow said...

We raise our tankards to these brave crew members and wish peace for their families & mates!

UPDATE: "HMS Bounty's longtime captain, Robin Walbridge -- remained missing as night approached Monday, said Lt. Mike Patterson, a Coast Guard spokesman. The body of the second, deckhand Claudine Christian, was found Monday evening, the Coast Guard announced."

Pauline said...

Captain & Wally: Thank you so much for adding the most recent information to this post. Our thoughts continue to be with the family & friends of Ms Christian & Captain Walbridge, and we fervently hope for his safe return.