From NBS News - A search was under way Monday for two crew members of the stricken ship HMS Bounty, which sank off the coast of North Carolina, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Earlier Monday, two Coast Guard helicopters rescued 14 people from life rafts after they were forced to abandon ship.
They were flown to Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina where they were met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel, the Coast Guard said.
An aircraft was on the scene, searching for the two missing crew members, with a Jayhawk helicopter en route to assist.
HMS Bounty passing through the Duluth Ship Canal in 2010"It appears that two crew members didn't make it on to the life rafts," Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Michael Patterson told NBC News. The Coast Guard was speaking with the rescued crew members to find out more details.
The ship issued a distress signal late Sunday after taking on water, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a release.
The owner of the 180-foot, three mast ship -- which was built for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie, "Mutiny on the Bounty" -- lost communication with the crew and alerted the Coast Guard to the situation.
The Coast Guard then received a distress signal from the ship showing its position. It sent out an aircraft to speak with the crew, which reported that the vessel was taking on water and had no propulsion. It was located about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C.
“The 16 people donned cold water survival suits and life jackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies,” the Coast Guard said in the statement. It had earlier reported that there were 17 people aboard the ship.
The director of the HMS Bounty Organization, Tracie Simonin, said that the tall ship left Connecticut last week for St. Petersburg, Fla. The crew had been in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center and tried to go around the storm, she said.
The ship, now reportedly underwater, was earlier surrounded by 18-foot seas and 40 mph winds as Hurricane Sandy moves through the area.