Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy and HMS Bounty

Nicole and I have been talking about how 24-hour media coverage, despite all its problems, allows us to be prepared for major weather events well in advance. We've known about Hurricane Sandy for about a week. Only a couple of generations ago, we would have had only a day or two's warning. Of course, farmers and sailors knew how to read natural signs, but there's nothing like radar, satellite imagery, and mathematical models for accurate advance predictions.

Even with these sophisticated tools, however, tragedies still happen. The reproduction ship HMS Bounty was built for the 1962 Marlon Brando film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and for the past several decades has sailed as an educational tall ship; I just saw her this summer when she visited the Delaware River. Early this morning, the HMS Bounty, while attempting to avoid the storm off North Carolina's Outer Banks, began taking on water. Her crew was forced to abandon ship in 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas, and, as of this writing, two crewmembers remain missing. For more, see this ABC News story. I'll post an update as more information emerges.

HMS Bounty, Chicago, 2003. Via the NY Daily News.

Update: As of Tuesday, October 30, the body of one missing crew member, Claudene Christian (a descendant of mutiny leader Fletcher Christian), has been recovered, and rescuers continue to search for Captain Robin Walbridge. Here are two images of the ship sinking via the Guardian (Tim Kukl/EPA/U.S. Coast Guard photographs).

Update: On November 1st, the Coast Guard ended its search for Captain Robin Walbridge. You can view a group interview of the surviving crew here.

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