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Wrecks, Rescues, and Mysteries: Air and Sea Disasters

April 26, 2014 @ 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

$90 - $130

True-life tales of survival—and loss—at sea have long fascinated us. Historian and author Andrew Jampoler recounts four dramatic incidents of bravery and tragedy spanning two centuries.

10 to 11:15 a.m. Bligh and the HMS Bounty

The mutiny onboard the British transport Bounty in April 1789 ended with her captain, William Bligh and 18 loyal crewmen adrift in the ship’s launch with 5 days’ rations. Their perilous 48-day 3,600 mile voyage across open water is history’s greatest warm-water survival story.

11:15 a.m.­­ to 12:15 p.m. Death on the Amphitrite
On August 31, 1833, the British convict transport ship Amphitrite, filled with more than 100 female prisoners and their children and a crew of 13, was battered to pieces on the beach at Boulogne during a savage storm in sight of hundreds of onlookers. The wreck of Amphitrite, from which there were just three survivors, horrified and scandalized the nation, and prompted Parliamentary intervention and an Admiralty investigation to fix blame.

12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)

1:15 to 2:30 p.m. The Enduring Mystery of Amelia Earhart

Our fascination with the missing aviatrix, lost somewhere in the islands of the South Pacific while piloting her Lockheed Electra aircraft around the world, has continued for decades. The quest for the site of her disaster and the solution to the mystery about what happened to Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, on July 3, 1937, has inspired films, books, and countless theories about their disappearance.

2:30 to 4 p.m. The Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586

During a sensitive mission in October 1978, the pilot of a US Navy P-3 Orion turboprop was forced to ditch his aircraft when a propeller malfunction turned into an engine fire. The patrol plane went down in 90 seconds in the mountainous seas west of the Aleutian Islands, taking one of its three rafts with it. Thirteen men launched the remaining rafts, ten of whom were rescued by Soviet fishermen. (Jampoler flew the same type of aircraft over the same waters in the 1970s.)

During nearly 25 as an aviator in the US Navy, Jampoler commanded a maritime patrol aircraft squadron and a naval air station. His six books on maritime history include Congo: The Miserable Expeditions and Dreadful Death of Lt. Emory Taunt, USN, and Black Rock and Blue Water: The Wreck of the Royal Mail Ship Rhone in St. Narciso’s Hurricane of October 1867.

The day concludes with a tasting of beers from Baltimore’s Heavy Seas Brewery.