Coast Guard suspends search for missing ship captain

From staff reportsNovember 1, 2012 

— The Coast Guard has suspended its search for the captain of the HMS Bounty, the three-masted sailing ship that sank off the coast of North Carolina on Monday.

Robin Walbridge, 63, of St. Petersburg, Fla., was the only member of the ship’s 16-person crew who was unaccounted for after the ship’s sinking during Hurricane Sandy. The Coast Guard used helicopters to pluck 14 people from the water Monday morning; the body of another crew member, Claudene Christian, was found Monday afternoon.

The Coast Guard searched for Waldbridge for more than 90 hours, covering a 12,000-square-mile area with helicopters, planes and ships. The Bounty, a replica of the 18th-century sailing ship built for the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty,” lost power Sunday and began taking on water, forcing the crew to abandon ship before dawn Monday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Walbridge and Christian families,” said Capt. Doug Cameron, chief of incident response for the Coast Guard 5th District, based in Portsmouth, Va. ”Suspending a search and rescue case is one of the hardest decisions we have to make.”

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