Missing Captain Came to WNY

October 31, 2012 Updated Oct 31, 2012 at 1:11 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By By Rachel Elzufon

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October 31, 2012 Updated Oct 31, 2012 at 1:11 PM EDT

WNY (WKBW) - The search is on for the Captain of a famous ship that sunk off the coast of North Carolina during the hurricane.

The HMS Bounty along with its missing Captain, have visited the Buffalo area twice.

The ship was caught in the wrath of Hurricane Sandy on Monday, forcing the crew to abandon ship before it sank.

14 crew members have been saved. A 15th was found dead. Captain Walbridge remains missing.

The 63-year-old had been on the ship since 1995. The Bounty was actually a replica of a famous 18th century British vessel. It had been for the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty."

In 1997, Walbridge took the HMS Bounty to Lewiston, where Western New Yorkers got to tour the ship.

He then took the ship to the Waterfront in Buffalo in 2004 for the Water Sport Expo.

"Kids that were on board," says ship owner Bob Hansen. "They took care of this ship like it was their own. I just spent my life re-building this ship to get it so that we'd save her from the graveyard once. To have her go like this is just heart wrenching."

Captain Walbridge wrote about the final moments on his ship on Facebook. First Walbridge wrote the ship was safer out at sea, before saying the generator died and the Bounty was flooding.

His final Facebook post told loved ones it was time to abandon ship.

Even though Captain Walbridge has been missing for two days, rescuers remain hopeful he's alive.

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