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NTSB blames Captain's 'reckless' decision for Bounty replica sinking

Feb. 10, 2014 at 10:36 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The captain's "reckless decision" to sail a replica of HMS Bounty into the path of Hurricane Sandy led to the vessel's sinking, U.S. investigators said Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board in a 16-page report also blamed the HMS Bounty Organization LLC, the company that owned and managed the Bounty, for failing to provide effective safety oversight.

The Bounty, built in 1962 for the MGM movie "Mutiny on the Bounty," sank Oct. 29, 2012, off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina four days after leaving New London, Conn., for Florida. The captain, Robin Walbridge, 63, is missing and presumed dead, while the body of one crew member, Claudene Christian, 42, was recovered, and 14 members of the crew were rescued.

"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of tall ship Bounty was the captain's reckless decision to sail the vessel into the well forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy, which subjected the aging vessel and the inexperienced crew to conditions from which the vessel could not recover," the report summary said.

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