WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Federal investigators say a captain’s “reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy” was the probable cause of the tall ship Bounty sinking off North Carolina in October 2012.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its report into the Bounty sinking today. The incident killed Capt. Robin Walbridge and another crewmember. Three other people were seriously hurt.
The 108-foot-long wooden tall ship was made for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty,” and was a replica of the famous ship of the same name. It left Connecticut on Oct. 25, 2012, heading for Florida despite crew members’ concerns and sailed into Sandy’s forecast track, the NTSB said. The report also points to wood rot and the functionality of pumps on board contributed to the safety of the crew.
Investigators concluded the Bounty’s final trip never should have happened.
“Although this wooden ship was modeled after an 18th century vessel, the Captain had access to 21st century hurricane modeling tools that predicted the path and severity of Hurricane Sandy,” NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman said. “The Bounty’s crew was put into an extraordinarily hazardous situation through decisions that by any measure didn’t prioritize safety.”
The ship sank early on Oct. 29, 2012, about 110 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras after taking on about ten feet of water. The Coast Guard rescued 13 crewmembers from the Bounty.
In addition to the captain’s fault, the NTSB report also points blame at the ship’s owners for not discouraging the voyage.