The body of a former Hermosa Beach woman - one of two crew members who went missing as the tall ship HMS Bounty sank off the North Carolina coast - was recovered Monday by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Claudene Christian, 42, who joined the HMS Bounty crew in May, and the ship's captain went missing after the vessel took on water in high seas amid Hurricane Sandy.
The Coast Guard was able to rescue 14 crew members Monday morning. Christian's body was found later and taken to a hospital before she was declared dead. The search continues for the 63-year-old Robin Walbridge, who is believed to be the ship's captain.
Officials said the missing crew members were wearing survival suits designed to help keep them afloat and protect them against cold water for about 15 hours, according to an Associated Press report.
Christian and the ship's captain were the only two of the 16-member crew who didn't make it into the lifeboats when the U.S. Coast Guard attempted a rescue 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C.
According to public records and information from Linkedin and her on Facebook page, Christian was a limited LTD partner of the Dragon Bar in Hermosa Beach, which is now closed.
She also previously was promotions manager at Church Hill Downs Inc./Hollywood Park Racetrack.
Christian lived in residences on The Strand and on Palm Drive in Hermosa Beach in the early to mid 2000s and reportedly was a resident of Oklahoma most recently.
She majored in sports information at USC and founded a company called Cheerleader Doll Company.
She wrote of her crewing on the HMS Bounty on her Facebook page:
"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, Marlon 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!"
A report posted by 5 News KFSM-KXNW said Christian last talked with her parents on Thursday when she called to tell them she loved them and that she wouldn't be able to contact them from the sea.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill said 14 people were rescued by two Coast Guard helicopters about 6:30 a.m. Monday and the survivors were taken to Air Station Elizabeth City on the North Carolina coast.
The ship left Connecticut last week and was enroute to St. Petersburg, Fla., when it encountered trouble.
It was about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras when the ship's owner called authorities saying she'd lost contact with the crew Sunday night.
The 180-foot, three-masted ship is a replica of the one made famous in the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando.
Although based on the Florida coast, the HMS Bounty was a familiar site on the West Coast as well, participating in several local tall ship festivals and making appearances in location shoots, including being featured in the two most recent Pirates of the Caribbean films starring Johnny Depp.
Christian also has a Twitter account but had not posted since July. In June, she wrote: "I am in LOVE with my ship ... BOUNTY" and linked to a photo of the vessel.
The Associated Press and KFSM/KXNW contributed to this report.
Follow Donna Littlejohn on Twitter at http://twitter.com/donnalittlejohn