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Florida Boaters Caught up in Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy posed a number of threats to a major portion of the eastern coast of the United States. Among those most at risk were boaters. The storm turned the surface of the ocean into an undulating hodgepodge of violent waves in her wake, creating a highly dangerous environment for watercraft. So far, at least a handful of boaters have been reported missing or deceased, and a large number of boats and other watercraft were reported damaged or destroyed.

The International Boat Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida unfortunately came to blows with the storm . The event, which takes place annually, was scheduled to go live between Thursday, October 25 and Monday, October 29. Despite threats of heavy rains and turbulent winds, the show’s leaders decided not to postpone the event. Some boat owners went through the extra precautions of tying their boats down, while owners of large boats reinforced their vessels.

A spokesperson from the show said the event is specially designed to endure strong tropical-like winds. Cancelling the show, which attracts over 100,000 guests and has a financial impact of nearly half a billion dollars, was not a viable option, the spokesperson suggested. Thankfully, the storm had little impact on the show and so far, no damages or injuries have been reported.

Not everyone was able to escape the violent hurricane unharmed. In North Carolina, Hurricane Sandy is being blamed for the sinking of the HMS Bounty, a 1700’s style merchant ship once featured in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The ship was off the coast of North Carolina when it and 17 passengers went missing. The boat’s captain was identified as Robin Walbridge, 63; he is still lost at sea.

The ship originally departed from Connecticut a week prior to the incident and was bound for Florida. However, the ship made emergency plans to dock elsewhere during the storm. Sadly, those plans were cut short by Sandy’s winds, which engulfed the ship in nearly 20-foot-high waves and 40-mile-per-hour winds. Some of the ship’s crew was able to escape by taking to lifeboats. The U.S. Coast Guard located the survivors via a helicopter search team.

The HMS Bounty was not the only vessel to be reported missing during Hurricane Sandy, but one such story had a thankfully happy ending. In the Caribbean, a motorboat carrying a six-person crew was reported missing at sea during an influx in violent weather caused by Sandy. The oceanic vessel departed Dominica on Sunday to make port at the French island of Martinique. The passengers were French residents who were in the area for a musical event.

The ship, which should not have taken more than a couple of hours to reach is destination, never called into the coast guard. Rescue workers searched for the group during the violent weather. After two days, no crew or vessel was found. Then, on Monday, the group turned up at a police department on the island of Martinique. None of the parties involved were injured during the storm. They had apparently reached their destination but did not report in to the coast guard.

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