Picture of the Bounty sinking in the Atlantic.
Picture of the Bounty afloat.
WASHINGTON -- The National Transportation Safety Board released its findings Monday into the sinking of the Bounty ship off the Atlantic coast in October 2012 that killed the captain and one crewmember.
The Board says the captain's "reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy" was the probable cause of the sinking of the ship while on a trip to St. Petersburg from New London, Connecticut.
The ship was originally built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando, and it was featured in several other films over the years, including one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
The investigation revealed some crewmembers had expressed their concerns to Captain Robin Walbridge that sailing into the storm could put all of them and the ship at risk. The captain assured the crew that the Bounty could handle the rough seas and that the voyage would be a success.
The 16-page report details how the mostly inexperienced crew suffered injuries from falls, seasickness and fatigue from the constant thrashing of 30-foot seas as they struggled for many hours to keep the ships engines running and bilge pumps operating so the seawater filling the vessel would not overtake it.
It was during the early morning hours of Oct. 29, about 110 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., when the Bounty heeled sharply to the starboard side after taking on more than 10 feet of water in the final hours of a three-and-a-half-day voyage that the NTSB said, "should never have been attempted".
"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," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "The Bounty's crew was put into an extraordinarily hazardous situation through decisions that by any measure didn't prioritize safety."
The U.S. Coast Guard was able to rescue all but two of the Bounty's 16 crewmembers during the storm. The body of one crewmember was found, still in a protective immersion suit, about 10 hours after rescue operations had commenced. The captain was presumed lost at sea; his body was never recovered.
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