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Search for tall ship captain goes into 3rd day

Oct. 31, 2012 - 08:32AM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 31, 2012 - 08:32AM  |  
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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — The search for the captain of a tall ship that sank in the Atlantic off North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy is in its third day.

A cutter searched for Robin Walbridge, 63, overnight Tuesday, and two C-130 planes joined the search during the day Wednesday, Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill said.

An additional aircraft out of Miami conducted a four-hour search Wednesday morning.

The Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin based in Charleston, S.C., began searching Tuesday afternoon. A smaller Coast Guard Cutter, the Elm, based in Atlantic Beach, searched through the night and was heading to North Carolina.

The 18th-century replica tall ship, called the HMS Bounty, set sail last week and ran into the hurricane off the coast of North Carolina as the storm moved up the East Coast.

By Monday morning, the ship was taking on water, and its engines failed. The crew abandoned ship about 145 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras in two life rafts.

The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members. Another crew member, Claudene Christian, 42, died.

"This is still an active search, not a recovery effort," said Capt. Doug Cameron, with the Coast Guard in Portsmouth, Va., which is supervising the effort.

The Coast Guard considers the fitness of the missing person, weather conditions and survival equipment in deciding how long to search, Cameron said in a statement.

The ship was originally built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and was featured in several other films.

The Coast Guard is searching more than 1,500 square miles.

The water temperature is 77 degrees, and the air temperature is 64 degrees. Seas are 12 feet, and the winds are 30 mph.

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