14 rescued, 2 missing from storm-hit ship off US

 FILE - In this July 9, 2012, file photo, a replica of the historic ship HMS Bounty, right, sails past a lighthouse, center, as it departs Narraganset...

Superstorm Ship

FILE - In this July 9, 2012, file photo, a replica of the historic ship HMS Bounty, right, sails past a lighthouse, center, as it departs Narraganset...

A three-masted ship that looked straight from an earlier century got caught in Hurricane Sandy's wrath and began taking on water, forcing the crew into lifeboats in rough seas off the North Carolina coast. The Coast Guard rescued 14 people by helicopter Monday, but two people were missing.
Coast Guard rescue swimmer Randy Haba helped pluck several crew members from a lifeboat and was lowered by helicopter to a crew member floating in the water alone.
"It's one of the biggest seas I've ever been in. It was huge out there," Haba said.
Two crew members of the HMS Bounty were adrift wearing survival suits designed to help keep them afloat and protected from cold waters for up to 15 hours, but the Coast Guard hasn't seen any sign of them.
The HMS Bounty, which has been featured in Hollywood films such as "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," had left Connecticut last week en route to Florida.
"They were staying in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center," said Tracie Simonin, the director of the HMS Bounty Organization. "They were trying to make it around the storm."
The Coast Guard received a call from the ship's owner late Sunday, saying communication had been lost with the crew. The Coast Guard later received an emergency distress call from the Bounty, confirming its position.
Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert Parker, Operational Commander for the Atlantic Area, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the ship had taken on about 10 feet (3 meters) of water when the crew abandoned it.
Amid high winds and 18-foot (5.5-meter) seas, two helicopters flew in for the rescue around dawn Monday, plucking crew members from the lifeboats.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill had no immediate word on their conditions. Most of the crew were in their 30s, although one man appeared to be in his 70s, Coast Guard officials said.
Days before it sank, the vessel had rerouted to avoid the brunt of Hurricane Sandy. However, a statement on its website acknowledged, "this will be a tough voyage for Bounty," the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The mother of one crew members said she had talked to her daughter after the rescue. Mary Ellen Sprague said 20-year-old Anna Sprague was very upset because the ship's captain and another crew member were still missing.
The ship was built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty," which starred Marlin Brando, and has been featured in other movies.
The HMS Bounty has docked off and on over the years at The Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida., and was scheduled to eventually arrive there in November, said Carol Everson, general manager of The Pier.
"It's devastating," Everson said. "Obviously you want all of the crew to be safe. It's a shame that the vessel has gone down because it's a tremendous piece of history."
The ship was permanently docked in St. Petersburg for many decades. In 1986, it was bought by Ted Turner, and in 2001, it was purchased by its current owner, New York businessman named Robert Hansen.
About 10 years ago, the ship underwent a multi-million dollar restoration.
Associated Press writers Bruce Smith in Charleston, South Carolina, and Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida, contributed to this report.

Updated : 2021-04-15 17:10 GMT+08:00