CAPE HATTERAS, NC (WITN) — Fourteen people are safely back on land after their ship sank as Hurricane Sandy skirted the North Carolina coast.
The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot, three-mast tall ship, was last marked about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras.
The ship has sunk, according to the Coast Guard at 8:45 a.m. Monday.
There were conflicting reports on how many people were onboard. The manifest reportedly listed 16 people, and that’s the number the Coast Guard has.
The Coast Guard also reported that two people may be missing.
The Coast Guard says the first Jayhawk helicopter crew reached the life rafts around 6:30 a.m., which is about 90 minutes after the crew of the Bounty abandoned ship. Crews hoisted five people into the aircraft at that time. A second helicopter arrived and rescued nine people.
The fourteen rescued crew members were flown to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City. Medical personnel were waiting for them there.
The Bounty’s last position was about 160 miles from Hurricane Sandy’s eye. Officials say the ship started taking on water in 18-foot waves and 40 mile per hour winds off the North Carolina coast.
The crew did have cold weather survival gear.
The Coast Guard sent a C-130 and two rescue helicopters, HH60s, to rescue the crew.
We’re told the crew had only handheld radios once they abandoned ship, so there was not contact until the aircraft got near the scene.
The Bounty was built for a 1962 film and has been featured in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
The Bounty has been to Carteret County a couple times, back in the 2000s. According to its website, the Bounty “sails the country offering dockside tours in which one can learn about the history and details of sailing vessels from a lost and romanticized time in maritime history.”
It’s not clear why the ship set sail in the Atlantic Ocean with Hurricane Sandy churning up the East Coast.