Fourteen people were rescued this morning from a tall ship that was sunk by Hurricane Sandy, but a Coast Guard plane is scouring the churning seas for two crew members who are missing.
The HMS Bounty, a three masted ship, was 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., when the owner called saying she’d lost contact with the crew Sunday night, The AP reported. The Bounty is a 180-foot replica of the ship featured in the film “Mutiny on the Bounty.”
The ship left Connecticut last week for St. Petersburg, Fla. The crew had been in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center and tried to go around the storm, according to the director of the HMS Bounty Organization, Tracie Simonin.
But the ship got caught in Sandy’s fury and began taking on water. The crew was forced to abandon ship and get into two lifeboats, wearing survival suits and life jackets during the night, according to the Associated Press.
The Bounty completely sank later this morning.
A Coast Guard plane spotted the ship before it went down and directed two rescue helicopters to the scene. At 6:40 a.m., the H65 Jayhawk helicopters hoisted 14 people out of their lifeboats and into the choppers.
Two people are still missing, and the Coast Guard is conducting a search and rescue operation. As of 9 a.m. there is a third helicopter on its way out to the boat, the official said.
Initial reports said there were 17 people on the Bounty, but the manifest indicated the ship only has 16 people aboard.
Hurricane Sandy, which is stirring up waves as large as 32 feet high according to buoy readings, is also giving a wild ride to passengers on at least five cruise ships.
Captain Vito Giacalone of Carnival Cruise Lines told ABC News via telephone that the storm is getting intense.
“We are navigating through some serious weather, but we’re not experiencing any issues. The vessel is very capable,” he said.
The five cruise ships in the waters that Sandy is churning today are the Aiduluna, the Carnival Miracle, Explorer of the Seas, the Norwegian Jewel and the Queen Mary 2, which is heading to the United Kingdom.
Daniel Gonzales disembarked from the Disney Dream on Sunday, saying everyone on the ship was getting sick from the waves.
“The ship was going back and forth. It was really scary,” said Gonzales.
Cruise ships now out in the waters are being forced to re-route and attempt to ride out the storm throughout the week, and cruise companies are delaying departures and arrivals, and have even cancelled trips.
This is not the first time cruise ship passengers have been tossed about in waves in the past couple of years. In 2010, the Cleilia 2 endured 30-40 foot waves as it sailed through the Drake Passage.
One ship was cruising off the coast of Spain in 2005 when a freak wave more than 70-feet tall crashed against it, reaching the ship’s 10th floor and soaking some passengers.
Source: ABC News