Former USC Song Girl Claudene Christian was a casualty of Hurricane Sandy aboard the HMS Bounty, which sank under the wind and waves off the North Carolina coast. Christian, a crew member on the ship, was found unresponsive in the water early Monday morning, and pronounced dead after being airlifted from the scene.
Fourteen of the 16 crew members survived in life boats, but Christian and the ship's captain, who is still missing, could not be rescued. She was 42.
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"The USC Song Girl Family is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our beautiful former Song Girls, Claudene Christian," said Song Girl coaches Lori Nelson and Dolly Rouse in a joint statement. "Our hearts and prayers go out to her parents and family. As a USC Song Girl, Claudene will always be remembered for her kindness, enthusiasm and charismatic personality. Claudene will be missed by all who knew and loved her."
Christian (pictured far right with the 1990 Song Girls) created a cheerleading doll company as a student at USC*. Initially, she made Song Girl dolls, but eventually the brand grew into the Cheerleader Doll Company.
She chose to sail with the HMS Bounty to celebrate its history as a replica of the 18th century British three-masted ship on which "Mutiny on the Bounty" was based. The vessel was featured in the film version of "Mutiny on the Bounty" and two of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
(Photo of the sunken HMS Bounty by Tim Kuklewski/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)