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Captain to Blame in 2012 HMS Bounty Sinking, NTSB Finds

The former captain of a the HMS Bounty, a replica three-masted sailing ship that sank off North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy, is likely to blame for the wreck, federal investigators said Monday.

In a report released Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board said the Bounty's captain made a "reckless decision to sail the vessel into the well forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy."

The tall ship went down roughly 100 miles south of Cape Hatteras during the monstrous October 2012 storm.

One member of the 16-person crew died — and the captain, Robin Walbridge, was never found. Three other crew members were injured.

In its report, the NTSB said Walbridge's decision to sail the 180-foot ship into storm-ravaged waters on Oct. 29, 2012 "subjected the aging vessel and the inexperienced crew to conditions from which the vessel could not recover."

The agency added that the vessel organization, the HMS Bounty Organization, LLC, did not offer sufficient safety oversight.

Telephone numbers listed for the organization appeared to be in inactive Monday. The authors of the NTSB report noted that the organization had listed the vessel for sale in 2010 and was still trying to sell the vessel when it sank. The estimated value of the ship was $4 million, the NTSB said.

The ship, a replica of the original 18th-century British Admiralty vessel of the same name, was constructed for MGM's 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando. The picture was a remake of the 1935 classic. More recently, the ship appeared in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

— Daniel Arkin