PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — Donning survival suits and boarding life boats, the crew of a tall ship in distress off North Carolina's Outer Banks abandoned the vessel as Hurricane Sandy swirled toward the East Coast, the Coast Guard said early Monday.
The 17 people aboard the HMS Bounty got into two 25-foot lifeboats with canopies, wearing survival suits and life jackets, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert in Portsmouth, Va., said.
The Coast Guard was trying to determine whether to use cutters or helicopters to rescue the crew, based on the current ocean conditions, Weydert said. Winds of 40 mph and 18-foot seas were reported at the ship, about 90 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
The Coast Guard initially received a call from the owner of the 180-foot, three mast tall ship, HMS Bounty, late Sunday evening, saying she had lost communication with the vessel's crew.
The Coast Guard in Portsmouth later received a signal from the emergency position indicating radio beacon of the Bounty, confirming the position.
An air crew from Elizabeth City, N.C., sent an HC-130 Hercules aircraft that established communications with the Bounty's crew.
The vessel was taking on water and had no propulsion.
The ship is a replica of the one made famous in the 1960 MGM film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and it was used in that film, which starred Marlin Brando. The ship was also used in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."