HMS Bounty: Nellysford man rescued from sinking ship

The Coast Guard plucked 14 people from the sea October 29 near an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic after the tall-ship HMS Bounty took on water and sank in heavy seas stirred up by Hurricane Sandy about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina .

Nellysford resident Chris Barksdale, 56, who does business as the Honey-Do Handyman, was among those rescued. The Coast Guard recovered the body of crew member Claudene Christian, 42. Captain Robin Walbridge, 63, is missing.

The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot tall, three-mast ship built for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie Mutiny on the Bounty, began taking on water Sunday night and was without propulsion, according to the Coast Guard. The owner of the ship contacted the Coast Guard late Sunday and said she'd lost contact with the vessel.

The 16 crew members donned cold-water survival suits and life jackets and launched two 25-man lifeboats with canopies into 40mph winds and 18-foot seas around 4:30am Monday.

The first Coast Guard helicopter arrived around 6:30am and by 10:15am, the 14 survivors were deposited in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with no life-threatening injuries. The Coast Guard has posted a video of the rescue.

The Bounty, which sailed around the coastal United States and Canada offering historical tours and special events, was en route from New London, Connecticut to St. Petersburg, Florida. Barksdale, who grew up in Norfolk and worked at the marina, according to a source familiar with the journey who declined to be identified, is a friend of the missing Captain Walbridge, and decided sailing on the Bounty was an opportunity of a lifetime.

The Coast Guard continues its search for Walbridge.

1 comment

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