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NTSB Says Bounty Captain was 'Reckless'

121029-G-ZZ999-001 - Coast Guard rescues crewmembers aboard HMS

The National Transportation Safety Board released its final report on the sinking of the tall ship Bounty on Monday, and the probable cause was the captain’s “reckless decision to sail.”

Although numerous factors contributed to the sinking, the NTSB ruled that Capt. Robin Walbridge's “reckless decision to sail the aging vessel into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy” was singled out. Wood rot, inoperable pumps, poor caulking and an inexperienced crew notwithstanding, it was placing the vessel on a collision course with danger that exposed these vulnerabilities and caused the sinking and loss of life, according to the NTSB report.

The famous replica ship sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C., on Oct. 29, 2012, when it sailed into Hurricane Sandy. Three people on board were seriously injured, deck hand Claudene Christian died after Coast Guard rescuers were unable to revive her and Walbridge, 63, was never found and was presumed drowned.