Photo/ More than a dozen members of a Nova Scotia-built replica vessel have abandoned ship off the coast of North Carolina after getting caught in the high seas brought on by Hurricane Sandy.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard told CBC News the crew of HMS Bounty decided to abandon ship after getting caught in 5.5-metre seas off Cape Hatteras on Monday.

The ship sank several hours after the evacuation.

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Video Rescue:

Offical Coast Guard Report:

The Coast Guard rescued 14 people from life rafts in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C., Monday, and two people remain missing.

Watchstanders dispatched crews aboard two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to rescue the crew.

The first Jayhawk crew arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 a.m. and hoisted five people into the aircraft, and a second helicopter arrived and rescued nine people.

The 14 people are being flown to Air Station Elizabeth City where they will be met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft remains on scene and is searching for the two missing crewmembers and a third Jayhawk crew is en route to assist search and rescue efforts.

The 16 people donned cold water survival suits and life jackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies.

Coast Guard Sector North Carolina initially received a call from the owner of the 180-foot, three mast tall ship, HMS Bounty, saying she had lost communication with the vessel’s crew late Sunday evening.

The Coast Guard 5th District command center in Portsmouth subsequently received a signal from the emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to the Bounty, confirming the distress and position.

An air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched aboard an HC-130 Hercules aircraft, which later arrived on scene and established communications with the Bounty’s crew.

The vessel was reportedly taking on water and was without propulsion. On scene weather is reported to be 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas.

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