Descendant of Bounty mutineer dies at 77

Aug. 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM
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PITCAIRN, Pitcairn, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Tom Christian, the descendant of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the Bounty mutineers, passed away on the British-owned Pitcairn Island. He was 77.

Christian, who was the radio chief at Voice of Pitcairn, died at his home there on July 7 due to complications of a recent stroke, The New York Times reported.

"It takes awhile for news to get out," Jacqueline Christian, Tom Christian's daughter, said by telephone from Pitcairn on Thursday.

Tom Christian was known for his shortwave radio program, through which he reached more than 100,000 people in the time he operated it.

He also occasionally traveled overseas to give lectures on Pitcairn's history and daily life, including the discovery of the island by Fletcher Christian, who led a mutiny aboard the British vessel His Majesty's Armed Vessel Bounty in 1789.

After casting away the ship's captain, William Bligh, and his sympathizers, Fletcher Christian and his men sailed the Bounty to Tubuai, in the Austral Islands, and then to Tahiti, the original destination of the journey, where some mutineers chose to remain.

Bligh and most of his men made it back to England.

Knowing British authorities would be on the lookout for him, Christian set sail again with eight of his men, plus a small group of Tahitian men and women and landed at Pitcairn, then uninhabited, in January 1790.

Along with his daughter Jacqueline, Tom Christian is survived by his wife Betty, three other daughters, Raelene Christian, Sherileen Christian and Darlene McIntyre, and six grandchildren.

With Christian's death, Pitcairn's permanent population stands at 51.

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