Photo courtesy of Facebook
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- News of the HMS Bounty sinking in the Atlantic during Hurricane Sandy has hit the people of St. Augustine hard, especially the people who got to know the crew.
For the family of the crew member from St. Augustine, they are relieved their loved one is okay.
"He's great. He's safe. He's coming home," Shane Savage said Tuesday morning.
SLIDESHOW: St. Augustine family and colleagues react to Bounty's demise
Savage and John Jones are step-brothers technically, but Savage says they grew up together, and that they're really brothers.
"He's devastated," Savage noted.
Jones was aboard the Bounty this week, but Savage said he wasn't hurt when the ship sank in the Atlantic.
In April, there was much fanfare when the Bounty sailed into St. Augustine. Boats traveled along side the tall ship and the bay front was full of people who welcomed her to the old city.
Savage remembered his brother, "fell in love with it. He's always been a sailor."
Savage says while the ship was docked at the city marina, Jones got a job with the Bounty.
"It was an experience he couldn't pass up," Savage recalled. "He just had to go."
So Jones joined the Bounty crew, a crew many people at the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum got to know personally. The museum worked with the Bounty on marketing and promotional events during the ship's stay.
Cindy Stavely is the Executive Director of the museum. She said of the crew Tuesday, "They were excited to be here. This was the first stop of the tour for 2012, called 'The Mutiny with the Bounty.'"
William Mcrea, a pirate re-enactor best known as Captain Mayhem, socialized with the crew during their time in St. Augustine.
"They were such a mix of personalities! They were a lot of fun," Mcrea remembered.
The Bounty left Connecticut bound for St. Petersburg, Fla. Monday, the ship encountered Hurricane Sandy. The tall ship sank, and the U.S. Coast Guard rescued the crew. 14 survived. Another crew member, Claudene Christian, was rescued. However, she did not survive. The captain has not been located.
"The first thing I thought was, 'it's a sad day for re-enactors and history because a piece of history is now gone,'" Mcrea noted. "But my bigger concern was paying attention to the crew and how much of the crew was saved."
Stavely quietly said, "It's surreal. The whole thing is surreal ... that it actually happened."
Savage described his brother as "devastated," but Savage is relieved he survived.
"That's what we cared about," Savage stated, "We truly are sorry for the two who are lost. The captain has not been found and Claudene has died. It's a great loss for the ship and two people. It's just really a sad story. We're glad the 14 are safe and are able to go home to be with their families."
Savage said Jones will be coming home to St. Augustine sometime Tuesday evening where his love affair with the Bounty started.
First Coast News