On November 2 the U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for HMS Bounty Capt. Robin Walbridge.
Walbridge, 63, went overboard October 29 when the Bounty sank and its crew members were forced to abandon the ship 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C.
Fourteen of the Bounty's 16 crew members made it back to Elizabeth City, N.C. Crew member Claudene Christian was lost for more than nine hours at sea before being recovered October 30. She was flown to Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City were she was later declared dead.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Walbridge and Christian families,” Capt. Doug Cameron, chief of incident response for the Coast Guard Fifth District, said in a press release. “Suspending a search and rescue case is one of the hardest decisions we have to make.”
The Coast Guard searched for Walbridge for more than 90 hours and covered approximately 12,000 square miles.
On November 1 Rear Admiral Steven Ratti, Fifth District Commander, ordered a formal investigation to determine the cause of the Bounty's sinking.
The investigation will probe into the cause of the accident; whether or not there is evidence that the ship had mechanical issues that led to its sinking; whether there was misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law by the crew; whether there is evidence the Coast Guard or any government personnel caused for contributed to the casualty; and whether the accident will be investigated further by a Marine Board of Investigation.
The investigation will be handled by Commander Kevin M. Carroll, the chief of the Coast Guard Fifth District.
The investigation is slated to take several months to complete.
Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 844-0711 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @BBRegisterBen.