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HMS Bounty crew member with Oklahoma ties dies in Sandy's aftermath

Other Oklahoma natives on the East Coast rushed to stores and altered travel plans. Hurricane Sandy battered cities from Washington to Boston on Monday, knocking out electricity to more than 1 million people and threatening to cripple the New York subway system with a surge of seawater.
by Silas Allen Modified: October 30, 2012 at 12:47 am •  Published: October 29, 2012

A woman with Oklahoma ties was pronounced dead Monday night after the tall ship she worked on capsized in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Claudene Christian was the crew member recovered from waters southeast of North Carolina earlier Monday after the HMS Bounty capsized in the wake of the storm, authorities said.

Christian, 42, was unresponsive when she was pulled from the water. She was recovered approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., Monday and flown to Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City, N.C., according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Christian was found alone and rescuers immediately began CPR, Patricia Saulsberry, her aunt, told KFSM, a television station in Fort Smith, Ark. A hospital spokesman said she was pronounced dead at Albemarle.

Christian's parents, who live in Vian, OK, were expected to head to North Carolina, Saulsberry said.

The captain of the ship is still missing, but the other 14 members of the ship's crew were rescued, the Coast Guard wrote in a news release.

On her Facebook page, Christian talks about her work on the Bounty and her pride in being associated with the tall ship:

"I live, work & Travel the Sea aboard the HMS Tall Ship Bounty. A Sailing Museum traveling from port to port sharing our ship and our history, we are a Replica Ship of the infamous story of "Mutiny on the Bounty" on Pitcairn Island.

"As a descendant of Fletcher Christian, played in four movies by Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlin Brando & Mel Gibson, I'm sure my ancestor would be proud... However this time, there will be no Mutiny on this Bounty... At least not at the hands of me, a new generation of Christian Family Sailors! This ship has been used in MANY Movies, including the 1962 version of "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlin Brando & the two most recent Pirates of the Carribean movies starring Johnny Depp."

For other Oklahomans, Monday afternoon was marked by dark skies, heavy wind and light foot traffic in Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Annie Funke was in her kitchen, cooking as quickly as possible.

Standing in her kitchen amid boiling pots of pasta and quinoa, Funke, a transplanted Oklahoman, was getting food ready in case power went out as Superstorm Sandy moved across the eastern seaboard. On Monday afternoon, the streets outside were mostly empty, she said, and most of the stores nearby were stripped bare.

“We literally got the last loaf of bread in the bread aisle,” she said. “Things are really scarce right now.”

Funke, an actress, hails originally from Edmond. She isn't in a flood zone, she said, so she spent the day staying indoors as much as possible and watching the news.

“It's a great excuse for New Yorkers not to go to work,” she said.

The storm battered cities from Washington to Boston on Monday, knocking out electricity to more than 1 million people and threatening to cripple the New York subway system with a surge of seawater.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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