On October 25, 2012, the vessel left New London, Connecticut, heading for St. Petersburg, Florida, initially going on an easterly course to avoid Hurricane Sandy. On 29 October 2012 at 03:54 EDT, the ship's owner called the United States Coast Guard for help during the hurricane after she lost contact with the ship's master. The ship's master had reported she was taking on water off the coast of North Carolina, about 160 miles (260 km) from the storm, and the crew were preparing to abandon ship. There were sixteen people aboard. Vice Admiral Parker, USCG, reported the ship had sunk and fourteen people had been rescued from liferafts by two rescue helicopters. The storm had washed the captain and two crew overboard—one of the latter had made it to a liferaft, but the other two were missing. They wore orange survival suits complete with strobe lights, thereby giving rescuers some hope of finding them alive. Claudene Christian, one of the two missing crew members and who claimed to be a descendant of HMS Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian, was found by the Coast Guard. She was unresponsive, and rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The other missing crew member was long time Captain Robin Walbridge. Raised in Montpelier, Vermont, Walbridge later moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. He was a field mechanic on houseboats who worked his way up to obtaining a 1600 ton license in 1995, when he began working as a Bounty crew member. Search efforts for Captain Robin Walbridge continued covering an area of 12,000 square nautical miles until they were suspended on 1 November 2012.
The Bounty's last reported position was 33°54′N 73°50′WCoordinates: 33°54′N 73°50′W.
November 3rd, 2012
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