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Crew of tall ship HMS Bounty abandons ship; 2 still missing

PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- The Coast Guard has rescued 14 members of the crew forced to abandon the tall ship HMS Bounty caught, which visited Duluth in 2010 and was slated to return in 2013, in Hurricane Sandy off the North Carolina Outer Banks.

The Coast Guard is searching for two other crew members. It corrected the total number of crew to 16 from 17.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill says 14 people were rescued by two Coast Guard helicopters about 6:30 a.m. today.

The survivors were being taken to Air Station Elizabeth City on the North Carolina coast.

The director of the HMS Bounty Organization, Tracie Simonin, said that the tall ship left Connecticut last week for St. Petersburg, Fla. She said the crew had been in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center and tried to go around the storm.

Winds of 40 mph and 18-foot seas were reported at the ship, about 90 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

The Coast Guard initially received a call from the owner of the 180-foot, three mast tall ship, HMS Bounty, late Sunday evening, saying she had lost communication with the vessel's crew.

The Coast Guard in Portsmouth later received a signal from the emergency position indicating radio beacon of the Bounty, confirming the position.

An air crew from Elizabeth City, N.C., sent an HC-130 Hercules aircraft that established communications with the Bounty's crew.

The vessel was taking on water and had no propulsion.

The ship is a replica of the one made famous in the 1960 MGM film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and it was used in that film, which starred Marlin Brando. The ship also was used in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

The Bounty is not the first tall ship that has run into trouble in storms in the Atlantic. The Pride of Baltimore sank in a squall north of Puerto Rico on May 14, 1986. Its captain and three crew members were lost. Eight others were rescued after several hours in the sea.

Its successor, the Pride of Baltimore II, was launched two years later. It has visited Duluth several times, most recently last year.