HMS Bounty replica abandoned amid Hurricane Sandy
Two people are still missing after the 16-strong crew of the replica tall ship HMS Bounty was forced to abandon ship as Hurricane Sandy approached.
The US coastguard said it had rescued 14 crew members, after the ship started taking on water off the coast of North Carolina.
The search for the two remaining crew members is continuing.
The Bounty is a replica of the ship of the same name famous for the mutiny of its crew in the 18th Century.
Built for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty, it was on its way from Connecticut on the north-east coast of the US to Florida, taking it through the path of Hurricane Sandy, when it began taking on water on Sunday night.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Lt Kevin Sullivan, command centre chief for the North Carolina coastguard, said the crew were able to keep the ship afloat for most of the night before deciding to abandon ship in the early hours of the morning.
"Our understanding is that as [the crew] were preparing to get into the life rafts the boat suddenly capsized on them," he said. "They had to swim clear of the boat and try to get in the life rafts from there."
He said it appeared two crew members had not made it into the life rafts. The 14 who did were later picked up by coastguard helicopters and suffered only minor injures.
Lt Sullivan said the search for the remaining two crew members would continue with planes and helicopters until nightfall, and would resume again in the morning with the deployment of several coastguard ships.
"The two missing folks are in survival suits - that's the report we have from the other survivors. That should give them a very good chance to stay alive, afloat and stay warm in that water," he said.
He added that the ship itself is believed to have sunk.
The Bounty was approximately 160 miles (250km) west of the eye of Hurricane Sandy when it got into trouble.