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Associated Press
The HMS Bounty, shown in 2010, sank off the coast of North Carolina.
Storm briefs

Tall ship HMS Bounty sinks; 15 rescued, 1 missing

Associated Press

The tall ship began to die early Monday morning in the hurricane-ravaged waters off the North Carolina coast. One of the HMS Bounty’s generators failed. Water flooded everywhere. The 180-foot-long, three-masted tall ship was losing power and propulsion.

By about 3 a.m., the Bounty’s once-optimistic Facebook page, which on Sunday had posted “So far so good!” in its daily updates, had issued a new message for its followers: “Your Prayers are needed.”

Ninety minutes later, the Bounty finally lost its battle with 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas. Its captain ordered all hands to abandon the sinking ship, a shocking demise for a celebrity vessel built for the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty.”

The ship, which had been trying to make its way around Hurricane Sandy, carried a crew of 16. When the rescue operation ended about 10 a.m. Monday, 15 of the crew members had been saved by Coast Guard helicopters.

Two people, Capt. Robin Walbridge, 63, and Claudene Christian, 42, were initially missing. Hours later, rescuers found Christian, but she was unresponsive. Christian was taken to a hospital in Elizabeth City, where she was listed in critical condition Monday evening.

In addition to its star turns in the 2006 “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel and other Hollywood movies, the ship was used to teach the “nearly lost arts of square rigged sailing and seamanship,” its website said. It also offered sailing, teamwork and leadership classes for the public.

On Saturday, Walbridge reported that he expected to face the hurricane’s brunt that night, according to the ship’s Facebook page.

The HMS Bounty Organization, which ran the ship, knew its tall-ship devotees might be skeptical of the vessel’s path, so it tried to reassure its 8,000 Facebook followers.

“Rest assured that the Bounty is safe and in very capable hands,” the Facebook page’s administrator wrote.

West Virginia adds to blizzard warnings

Snow plows were out in parts of the southern Appalachian mountains Monday, preparing for as much as 3 feet of snow in higher elevations spawned by the merger of a winter storm with Hurricane Sandy.

The early snowfall could be a boon for the area’s ski resorts, which have sometimes struggled to keep their slopes open with a warming climate.

Forecasters in West Virginia expanded a blizzard warning to at least 14 counties for high winds and heavy, wet snow.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency.

“We’re not taking it lightly,” Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Gene Tracy said. “We’re preparing for the worst – power outages – and getting ready to cut trees if they block the roads.”

TV shows, Broadway take the night off

David Letterman didn’t get many laughs for his monologue Monday: The “Late Show” host told his jokes to a mostly empty Ed Sullivan Theater.

Jimmy Fallon taped “Late Night” without an audience, too, as Hurricane Sandy disrupted a wide swath of the New York area’s bustling entertainment industry.

Production on at least nine shows was affected, including “Gossip Girl,” “Person of Interest” and “Elementary,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” also took Monday night off, and each of Broadway’s 40 theaters will be dark through today.

Some network schedules were shaken up by the widespread power outages cutting into the available TV audience in the East.

“Good Morning America,” the “Today” show and “CBS This Morning” were expected to air live as usual today with extensive storm coverage.

Wind gusts in state could reach 50 mph

Tropical storm Sandy is forecast to send winds gusting as high as 50 mph across parts of Indiana today while the state sends utility crews and emergency responders to other states to help deal with its fury.

The National Weather Service in Indiana said Monday the gusty winds will be the storm’s largest direct impact on Indiana.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says it sent more than 100 people and 24 ambulances to other states.

Indiana Michigan Power Co. and Indianapolis Power and Light Co. have sent 160 utility crew employees to help restore power from outages resulting from the storm.

An Indianapolis International Airport spokesman says Sandy led to the cancellation of more than 70 flights that were due to arrive or depart Sunday night and Monday.

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