Crew of ship HMS Bounty abandons ship 90 miles off Hatteras

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(Photo courtesy, WTKR)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard says the crew has abandoned a tall ship in distress off North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Hurricane Sandy swirls toward the East Coast.

Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert said Monday morning that the 17 people aboard the HMS Bounty got into two lifeboats, wearing cold-water survival suits and life jackets.

As of 8 a.m., the HMS Bounty Facebook page reported 14 of the 17 crew members had been “hoisted to safety.”

Weydert previously said the Coast Guard was trying to determine whether to use cutters or helicopters to effectively rescue the crew.

The ship was about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras when the ship’s owner called saying she’d lost contact with the crew Sunday night.

The 180-foot, three-masted ship is a replica of one made famous after being featured in the film “Mutiny on the Bounty.”

Weydert says the ship had been taking on water and was without propulsion.

At 7 a.m., weather reports indicated 40-mph winds and 18-foot seas in the ship’s region.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.