Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy

Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy

Michael J. Tougias

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1476746648

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From the author of the Fall 2015 Disney movie The Finest Hours, the “thrilling and perfectly paced” (Booklist) story of the sinking and rescue of Bounty—the tall ship used in the classic 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty—which was caught in the path of Hurricane Sandy with sixteen aboard.

On Thursday, October 25, 2012, Captain Robin Walbridge made the fateful decision to sail Bounty from New London, Connecticut, to St. Petersburg, Florida. Walbridge knew that a hurricane was forecast, yet he was determined to sail. The captain told the crew that anyone could leave the ship before it sailed. No one took the captain up on his offer.

Four days into the voyage, Superstorm Sandy made an almost direct hit on the ship. A few hours later, the ship suddenly overturned ninety miles off the North Carolina coast in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” sending the crew tumbling into an ocean filled with towering thirty-foot waves. The coast guard then launched one of the most complex and massive rescues in its history.

In the uproar heard across American media in the days following, a single question persisted: Why did the captain decide to sail? Through hundreds of hours of interviews with the crew members and the coast guard, Michael J. Tougias and Douglas A. Campbell create an in-depth portrait of the enigmatic Captain Walbridge, his motivations, and what truly occurred aboard Bounty during those terrifying days at sea. “A white-knuckled, tragic adventure” (Richmond Times-Dispatch), Rescue of the Bounty is an unforgettable tale about the brutality of nature and the human will to survive.

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where he could see far beyond the horizon that would be visible to the helmsman on deck, Scornavacchi rode the mast as it rocked gently. Salapatek was below, keeping an eye on him for safety. It was a perfect day for this job, and shortly the yard was lying on the weather deck, where Scornavacchi joined the rest of the crew. Next the crew strung two jack lines—one on each side—on the weather deck. The lines were loose, giving anyone holding on to them the ability to go near the outer rails. Then

sailing team at Auburn University when Bounty arrived in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, for the Tall Ship Festival in the first week in May 2012. Her mother, Mary Ellen Sprague, a Savannah alderwoman, was working on the event and had an extra ticket that she gave to Anna. Sprague had been sailing her whole life. The family had small boats—Sunfish and Lasers—that they sailed in the Savannah River. One time when she was much younger, her father, Larry, took her sister and Anna out on the river

up on the twenty-seventh.” When Walbridge emailed Simonin, Salapatek said, “I just cut and pasted that.” Otherwise, Salapatek had no more idea what was happening aboard Bounty than any of his readers could deduce. None of them knew, for example, that dinner Saturday evening was a curry dish. The aroma washed from the galley in the forward end of the tween deck, seeped down to the lower deck, and occasionally wafted up through the Nav Shack to the weather deck. Bounty crew had never before had

abandon ship before dawn. And he needs another C-130 out there ASAP.” While Todd got busy coordinating the next plane to launch, Steve said to Jane, “Well, I hope Bounty can make it to morning, but let’s get our aircraft and crew ready to go at a moment’s notice, just in case.” Jane gave a tense nod. This would be her first major helicopter rescue, and the flying conditions would be unlike anything she’d ever remotely experienced. She could feel the excitement and anticipation building in her

diameter, yet was strong enough to hoist eleven thousand pounds. The dozens of individual strands gave the cable its durability and strength, but they also presented a weakness. Individual strands had been known to break by rubbing against the aircraft or another object, and although this did not usually mean the cable would break, it could lead to fouling, or “bird-caging,” in the spool. Should the cable become stuck while the rescue swimmer was in the water, the stranded swimmer would be in as

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