Bounty sinking victim had ties to Alaska

Michelle Theriault Boots

A woman who died after the tall ship HMS Bounty sank off the coast of North Carolina on Monday had ties to Alaska.

The ship began taking on water in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, forcing the crew to abandon the vessel in rough seas.

The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members and later found the body of 42-year-old Claudene Christian.

Christian was a 1988 graduate of West Anchorage High School, according to Daily News archives.

She was crowned Miss Alaska National Teenager in 1987 and Miss Alaska American Coed in 1988.

After leaving the state, Christian was a cheerleader at the University of Southern California.

She went on to start a company that produced dolls dressed in replica collegiate cheerleader costumes. Starting in 1996, she fought a lengthy legal battle with Barbie-maker Mattel, which sued her for copyright infringement, according to the Sequoyah County Times.

Her family now lives in Oklahoma, Arkansas television station KFSM reported Monday.

On Monday night, rescuers were still searching for the ship's captain, 63-year-old Robin Walbridge.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at or 257-4344.