'Trip of a Lifetime' Turns into Nightmare for Nelson County Man

October 31, 2012

Chris Barksdale told friends in Nelson County that this was the trip of a lifetime. The HMS Bounty left Connecticut last week, headed for St. Petersburg, Florida with Barksdale on board. The journey turned into a nightmare when the ship sailed into Hurricane Sandy's path.

Barksdale was one of 14 crew members rescued by the Coast Guard Monday morning, as the historic HMS Bounty sank into the Atlantic Ocean.

"This expedition he was on, he had the same chance a couple of years ago, but he had a son," said friend, Charles McMurry. "His son is out of school now so he said he had to go this time."

The 180-foot ship was originally built for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie, Mutiny on the Bounty. Barksdale was on board to help with repairs. Known as the "Honey-Do Handyman" around Nelson County, Barksdale often met with friends at the Devil's Backbone Brewery for an afternoon beer.

"He is just a really nice guy, very friendly and outgoing," said Richard Boyd, a friend of Barksdale. The group of men gathered at Devil's Backbone Wednesday afternoon said they were relieved to hear their friend is safe.

Others on board weren't so lucky. One crew member, 42-year-old Claudene Christian, was found unresponsive in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina Monday evening. She was later pronounced dead. Meanwhile, the search enters its third day for the Captain of the ship, Robin Walbridge.

A relief fund has been set up for crew members and surviving families on the Bounty's Facebook page.

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