Bounty crewmembers testifying at hearing about Oct. 2012 sinking

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Associated Press & 13News

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 15 at 7:01 PM

PORTSMOUTH (AP) -- Two crewmembers - the third mate and boatswain - who were aboard the tall ship HMS Bounty when it sank during Hurricane Sandy were testifying Friday before a federal safety panel.

Third mate Daniel Cleveland said Capt. Robin Walbridge, whose body was never found, was "a calm man" and "never saw him get nervous or scared."  He also called Walbridge "a great teacher."

Walbridge and another member of the 18th-century replica ship's crew died after the ship sank 90 miles off Cape Hatteras, N.C., during the October storm.

Cleveland described 30-foot seas and winds that reached 90 MPH, and the ship taking on water prior to the sinking, but he testified there was no panic among the crew on the night the Bounty was lost.

The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are holding hearings to determine what caused the ship to sink. Testimony by others has shown the ship's captain decided to sail directly into the storm knowing the Bounty had a rotted frame.

Cleveland went on to describe areas of rot in the hull that were discovered at the shipyard in Maine before they headed out to sea in October 2012.

The ship was built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and appeared in other seafaring dramas.

AP-WF-02-15-13 0946GMT

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