By Steven Fletcher
---- — Two people are missing from the tall ship HMS Bounty that sank this morning off the North Carolina coast.
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for two people who were on the 180-foot, three-mast, tall ship, which visited Gloucester recently for the Schooner Fest.
The Bounty was reportedly taking on water and without propulsion 90 miles off Hatteras. A Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft made contact with crew members in the early morning. The Coast Guard crews found the vessel in 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas generated by incoming Hurricane Sandy.
Sixteen people, according to the Coast Guard release, put on cold water survival suits and abandoned ship in two 25 person lifeboats. At approximately 6:30 a.m two Coast Guard helicopters rescued 14 people from the rafts.
Those 14 people were flown to the Elizabeth City Air Station where they met with emergency medical services personnel. The guard is still looking for two crew members
According to a statement from the Coast Guard, the Bounty's owner called the Coast Guard's North Carolina Sector after she lost communication with the crew late Sunday Evening. The Guard's 5th District station in North Carolina then received a signal from the Bounty's radio beacon.
The Bounty docked in Gloucester at Cruiseport in late August as part of the city's Schooner Festival. It's a replica of the true HMS Bounty, on which a mutiny took place in Tahiti in 1789. The vessel was built for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty.”
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.