PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The body of one of two crewmembers missing after the replica tall ship HMS Bounty got caught in Hurricane Sandy and sank off the North Carolina coast has been recovered, officials told FoxNews.com.
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Michael Patterson said 14 people were rescued from life rafts roughly 90 miles offshore by two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters at about 6:30 a.m. Monday and were taken to Air Station Elizabeth City. The rescue occurred during 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas, Coast Guard officials said.
“We are still actively searching for two persons in the water."
The first Jayhawk crew hoisted five people into the aircraft, followed by a second helicopter that rescued nine additional crewmembers.
The director of the HMS Bounty Organization, Tracie Simonin, told the Associated Press that the ship left Connecticut last week for St. Petersburg, Fla.
"They were staying in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center," she said. "They were trying to make it around the storm."
The Coast Guard initially received a call regarding the 180-foot, three mast tall ship late Sunday, saying she had lost communication with the vessel's crew. The Coast Guard in Portsmouth later received a signal from the emergency position indicating radio beacon of the Bounty, confirming the position.
Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert Parker, Operational Commander for the Atlantic Area, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that at the time of the distress call the ship was taking on two feet of water an hour. Parker said the crew abandoned ship into canopied, rubber life rafts with about 10 feet of water on board.
The ship, which had been taking on water and was without propulsion, is a replica of the one made famous in the 1960 MGM film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and it was used in that film, which starred Marlin Brando. It was also used in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."
FoxNews.com's Joshua Rhett Miller and The Associated Press contributed to this report.