Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy

Michael Tougias
History / Storytelling

Course Description

The tall ship Bounty, featured in the Marlon Brando movie Mutiny on the Bounty, sank during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The captain and a crewmember perished in the accident but the Coast Guard performed harrowing helicopter rescues to save the other fourteen sailors. Tougias will use slides of the storm, the survivors, and the rescue to make this “an edge-of-your seat” visual program. The story begins on October 25, 2012 when Captain Robin Walbridge made the fateful decision to sail the HMS Bounty from New London, Connecticut to St. Petersburg, Florida. Walbridge was well aware that a hurricane was forecast to come up the Eastern seaboard. He explained to his crew of 15 that the ship would fare better at sea than at port, and that he thought he could sail “around the hurricane.” He told the crew that anyone who did not want to come on the voyage could leave the ship and there would be no hard feelings. No one took the captain up on his offer, and this decision would have fatal consequences. Four days into the voyage Superstorm Sandy made an almost direct hit on the Bounty. The captain issued a Mayday explaining that the vessel’s pumps could not keep up with the incoming water. A few hours later, in the dark of night, the vessel suddenly heeled over, sending the crew tumbling into the ocean filled with crashing thirty foot waves. Some were swept far from the ship, others found themselves tangled in the rigging, while others were trapped below the surface by the masts and spreaders.

About the Instructor

  • Michael Tougias is a NY Times Bestselling author of 29 books including, The Finest Hours, which was brought to the big screen by Disney starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. His nonfiction books primarily focus on lesser-known historical events. He lectures across the country. His latest book, So Close To Home, chronicles the first U-boat to enter the Gulf of Mexico and the survival at sea story of an American family who was on a ship torpedoed by this German submarine. He is the author a new bestseller on JFK and The Cuban Missile Crisis titled Above & Beyond. Tougias has appeared on The Weather Channel, The Travel Channel, ABC's 20/20, Fox & Friends, National NPR and many other national TV and Radio shows.