Hurricane Sandy Rescue: HMS Bounty Survivors Speak

The tall ship sank off the coast of North Carolina before Hurricane Sandy made landfall.
3:00 | 11/06/12

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Transcript for Hurricane Sandy Rescue: HMS Bounty Survivors Speak
Thanks, ron. Now, to that abc news exclusive with the crew members of "the hms bounty." The ship that sank off the north carolina coast during hurricane sandy. The crew members are talking about their harrowing ordeal. And matt gutman joins us this morning. Reporter: Good morning, elizabeth. A terrifying ordeal. And some of the 14 survivors we met at this pier, where "the bounty" had been docked are still in shock. They abandoned ship in chaos. The ship, falling on its side, tossing many of them into the water. They wouldn't be alive were it not for teamwork and the heroism of the coast guard. They were some of the enduring images of hurricane sandy. The ship wreck crew of "the bounty," poking their heads out of a liferaft. The doomed ship, sinking. There must have been an element of fear when you thought, we have to leave this thing. I wasn't worried. I was never scared. Reporter: This morning, the "hms bounty's" crew is speaking to abc news, talking about the first time about what happened that night, and the loss of their two crewmates, captain robin walbridge. Going down giant slides. Reporter: Captain robin walbridge writing on facebook, with hurricane sandy on the move, a ship is safer at sea than at port. Three days into the voyage, they found themselves in the middle of the storm. The seas heaving three stories high. The weather was so bad and we had so little control. Reporter: Winds shooting at them at 70 miles per hour. It kept every ounce of my strength to focus through, to survive. Reporter: And by the fourth day, the ship, constructed for the 1962 film "mutiny on the bounty" had been taken on water for 24 hours. We had to determine a safe time when we knew that the ship would still be stable that we could get everyone ondeck and change our focus from saving the ship to saving every life. Reporter: Was that a difficult decision to make? A very difficult decision to make. Reporter: Crew members had trained for this rough weather countless times. I had been through two hurricanes with robin on "the bounty." The ship was in great shape. We were going to get up and launch a life raft. And she went over. Reporter: As the ship began going under, the crew members put on these red survival suits, designed to help them float. At that moment, I can't be sure that I knew who any of the red suits were around me. Reporter: Within hours, they began to hear the beating rotors of the coast guard helicopters. Everybody began hooting and hollering. Reporter: But they were far from safe. A swimmer surged towards them. He was ready to get out of here. We were about to say -- and the raft just, the pressure displaced. And knocked him pretty good. I say they came from the sky to save us. They were a hero. A bunch of people here helping me get into the life raft. Reporter: John was one of the only survivors not in a raft. He swam to a beacon. I give my life to robin, his ingenuity, his leadership that I'm here today. Reporter: Those pulled out alive, had no idea who else had survived. We got up there, everybody cheered each time we saw a new face come into the helicopter. Reporter: But not everyone made it home. Claudene christian was one of "the bounty's" newest crew members and already part of their family. Left her teddy bear at home because she wasn't sure if it would be safe for him. She was having the most fun ever on the best ride ever. She was so happy. text to her mother read, if I go down with the ship and the worst happens, just know that I'm truly, genuinely happy. The coast guard found her body but couldn't revive her. The body of captain wge has not been recovered. And for the 14 who made it, survival is bittersweet. I'm going to miss them for the rest of my life. We all feel that way. Reporter: Today, they are mourning but grateful. You know, when you survive death, when you -- when you've experienced that and pulled through it, there's nothing else like it. I'm never going to have a bad day again in my life. Reporter: Nearly all those survivors managed to stuff some sort of memento into those big, red gumby suits. Doug font had the "bounty" bear. But none of this stuff mattered at all. All they wanted was to see each other at the end of the day. The coast guard is investigating this. And the 14 survivors say they are all cooperating.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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