US Coast Guard helicopters have plucked 14 crew members of a replica tall ship 'HMS Bounty' out of the sea in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, but two others were missing and the boat has sunk.
The daring rescue in waters off North Carolina came after the crew abandoned ship, donning cold water survival suits and life jackets and launching two canopied life boats into the howling sea.
The Coast Guard, responding to a distress call, dispatched a C-130 airplane and established communications with the crew. That plane was later joined by two MH-60 rescue helicopters from Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
The first helicopter 'hoisted five people into the aircraft, and a second helicopter arrived and rescued nine people' the Coast Guard statement said.
'The C-130 Hercules aircraft remains on scene and is searching for the two missing crew members and a third Jayhawk crew is en route to assist search and rescue efforts.'
The vessel is a replica of the British vessel that took part in the mutiny in Tahiti in 1789 and was built for the 1962 movie 'Mutiny on the Bounty' starring Marlon Brando. It also featured in 'Pirates of the Caribbean' with Johnny Depp.
The vessel was approximately 250 kilometres west of the eye of hurricane, which as of midday Monday was packing sustained winds of 150km/h.