Okla. family loses loved one in Hurricane Sandy

Posted on: 10:00 pm, October 29, 2012, by , updated on: 09:50am, October 30, 2012


Hurricane Sandy has claimed the life of a woman with Oklahoma ties.

Claudene Christian, 42, was a crew member on board the HMS Bounty, the ship that went down about 90 miles east off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Christian’s parents live in Vian, in far eastern Oklahoma.

Christian also lived there recently for about a year.

The HMS Bounty was built as a movie prop, a replica of the real one well-known for the mutiny aboard her in 1789.

But a real life storm proved too much for the tall ship as she went down amidst Hurricane Sandy.

Crews aboard two coast guard helicopters pulled 14 crew members alive from the raging waters.

Christian’s aunt said she wasn’t even aware her niece was at sea with the storm bearing down.

“They’d just had the bounty in dry dock and I didn’t know it was back out to sea with this weather coming in,” Patricia Saulsberry said.

Christian mainly grew up in Alaska and was a cheerleader at USC.

She was a singer and also founded the Cheerleader Doll Company, she was actually sued by Mattel for her dolls’ resemblance to Barbie.

Saulsberry said Christian joined the HMS Bounty crew in May after living in Vian for about a year.

“She was just always staying busy and active at things,” she said.

Coast Guard rescuers said the conditions were extremely dangerous.

“Being down in those waves is more like being in a washing machine” Coast Guard rescue swimmer Danial Todd said. “You have these waves kind of hitting at you from every single direction.”

Crews continued to search for the ship’s captain late Monday night.

All other crew members except Christian was rescued.