42-year-old Claudene Christian was unresponsive when she was pulled from the water Monday evening and was later pronounced dead at Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City, N.C., early Tuesday morning, according to The Associated Press.
The Coast Guard is still looking for ship’s captain Robin Walbridge, 63. “What we know is that the whole crew was getting ready to board the life rafts, and as they were about to board, three people ended up in the water. One was able to get out [of the water] and get into rafts,” Coast Guard Lt. Junior Grade Brendan Selerno told ABCNews.com Monday. The ship was partially submerged by that time, and the three were swept overboard by waves topping the deck.
The entire crew was equipped with cold-water survival suits, known as Gumby suits, and life jackets with strobe lights to assist searchers with locating survivors. The life rafts were equipped with covers to prevent the rafts from being swamped in rough seas.
The buzz is already starting on the Net, asking why the Captain took the ship out with Hurricane Sandy between him and his destination. There will, in all probability, be some sort of inquiry, and the owners of the ship will have to answer that question.
The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot sailboat, is shown submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy approximately 90 miles (145 km) southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina in this U.S. Coast Guard handout picture taken October 29, 2012.