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HMS Bounty sinking investigated


The ship began taking on water as it sailed near Hurricane Sandy. File photo courtesy: Donnie Morris.
The ship began taking on water as it sailed near Hurricane Sandy. File photo courtesy: Donnie Morris.

Daniel Martins, staff writer

January 13, 2013 — A formal hearing is planned as part of the investigation of the sinking of tall ship HMS Bounty, in which two lives were lost.

The United States Coast Guard has announced a formal hearing into the sinking of the tall ship HMS Bounty.

The nine-day hearing is scheduled to begin February 12 in Portsmouth, Virginia.

"The investigation will examine the facts and circumstances relating relating to the sinking of the vessel and will develop conclusions and recommendations to improve the safety and operations of similar vessels," the coast guard says.

Strong winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy in late October caused the Canadian-built ship to take on water.

Fourteen of the ship's 16 crew members were airlifted to safety, but the ship's 63-year-old captain, Robin Walbridge, was swept overboard.

Coast guard helicopters searched over 12,000 square nautical miles in a 90-day search for Walbridge without success.

Two other crew members were also swept overboard. One made it to a life raft, but another, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was recovered unresponsive, and later died.

HMS Bounty was built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, in 1960, for the 1962 film portrayal of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty.

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