A heart wrenching report of the distressed HMS Bounty reached Boothbay Harbor, which has been a welcome port for the ship and its crew over the years. The boat and its crew were iconic figures in Boothbay Harbor, which has a rich shipbuilding heritage.The vessel was here for routine maintenance between mid-September and mid-October getting a new coat of paint, caulk in leaky seams and new crew quarters.
The HMS Bounty Facebook page reported that the boat departed Connecticut for St. Petersburg, Florida last week and attempted to go around Hurricane Sandy.
On Sunday October 28, Captain Robin Walbridge wrote, “We are just going to keep trying to go fast and squeeze by the storm and land as fast as we can.”
Shortly after the Captain’s update, the owner of the Bounty lost communication with the vessel and alerted the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard then received a distress signal from the ship showing its position. The heroic men and women of the Coast Guard sent an aircraft to speak with the crew, which reported that the vessel was taking on water. According to an official Coast Guard Report, “The Coast Guard has received word that the crew of the HMS Bounty has abandoned ship approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C., Monday. The crew donned cold water survival suits and life jackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies. Two Coast Guard helicopters rescued 14 people from life rafts after they were forced to abandon ship.
They were flown to Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina where they were met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel, the Coast Guard said.
An aircraft was on the scene, searching for the two missing crew members, with a Jayhawk helicopter en route to assist.
“It appears that two crew members didn’t make it on to the life rafts,” Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Michael Patterson told NBC News. The Coast Guard was speaking with the rescued crew members to find out more details.”
For more information on the Bounty and updates on the rescue, visit their Facebook page. For now, our hearts and prayers are with the crew and those involved in the search and rescue.