As this article is written, Hurricane Sandy, now being dubbed “Superstorm Sandy”, is savaging the East Coast. In a situation reminiscent of the events which sank the Andrea Gail in The Perfect Storm, Sandy has combined with two other independent weather systems to form a massive storm front over 1000 miles wide. It has left millions without power on the Eastern Seaboard, and flooded many parts of the country, including Manhattan’s famous subway system.
It has so far claimed approximately 30 lives, including Claudine Christian, 42, who was serving as a crew member for the tall ship, HMS Bounty. The rest of the crew of 16 have been rescued, save her captain, Robin Wallbridge, who is lost at sea and presumed dead.
The Bounty was a replica of the famous ship which saw Fletcher Christian lead a mutiny against British Captain William Bligh on April 28, 1789. The replica was built for the filming of the 1962 movie, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, starring Richard Harris and Marlon Brando. After filming concluded, the ship became a traveling tourist attraction and movie filming location. It continued to star in a number of movies including Pirate of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
The website, tallshipbounty.org was established so that people could see the tall ships sailing schedule, book passage aboard her, or offer their services as a volunteer or prospective crew member. The website has confirmed that the Bounty sunk on Sunday, October 28th in 15 foot seas as the captain was attempting to sail the boat around the developing superstorm. According to the website, at 6:30PM, the Bounty sent out a distress signal that she was without power and taking on water.
The US Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter to the ships last reported position, found the wreck of the Bounty, and began plucking her crew from the lifeboats. Claudine Christian was not in a lifeboat. Her body was discovered hours later floating and unresponsive in the open ocean. Ms. Christian is the only confirmed loss of life in the sinking of the Bounty, but her captain is also missing and presumed dead. It is not clear at this point why she was not safely waiting in the lifeboats with the others, but no doubt the treacherous seas washed her overboard as the ship sank.
Clearly, the ship had one final story to tell; one more compelling than the original story for which she was built. No doubt the sinking of the HMS Bounty will be compared to that of the Andrea Gail as both ships were sunk in freak occurrence super storms that resulted from the collision of three independent weather systems. Fortunately, at 2 deaths out of 16, the loses of the HMS Bounty are lower than that of the Andrea Gail which went down with her entire six person crew. No doubt this is because the Andrea Gail was much farther from shore than the HMS Bounty and was unable to be rescued by USCG helicopter.