NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - It didn’t take long for news to spread around the tiny community of Nellysford.
One of their own was aboard the tall ship HMS Bounty a few days ago when the ship sank off the coast of North Carolina.
The crew lost a female member who died when she was swept overboard and the captain of the ship is still missing.
The team evacuated the ship when it started taking on water and headed for life boats, where they stayed until the Coast Guard rescued them hours later. Among the crews, was Christopher Barksdale.
Friends tell us Barksdale is well known as the “Honey-Do Handyman” around town. Marie Kelly says he often stops by her job, a popular restaurant called Basic Necessities.
“I’ve known him for years. He’s a gentleman. He always has a smile on his face and is so talented at so many things. I knew he was going out to repair lighthouses but I never knew he was on that ship. When I found out, oh, I would have been so devastated if something happened to him” Kelly explained.
The restaurant’s owner, Kay Pfaltz tells us she has know Barksdale for about twenty years. She says she didn’t know he was on the ship but when she found out there were survivors, she knew if anyone could make it through, it would be Chris.
“Chris used to come in here a lot and sit right here. We’ve gone fox hunting together, he rode my horse. We go way back. I mean it was just a shock when I heard this happened and Chris was on the ship” Pfaltz said.
One neighbor who rents from Barksdale declined to go on camera but did say he spoke with him by phone on Tuesday night. That neighbor told us Barksdale mentioned he was pretty sore from the ordeal and planned to be back in Nelson county in the next few days.
Friends in town say they can’t wait to see him and wrap their arms around him and welcome Barksdale home.
CBS 6 News reached out to Barksdale for this story and have not heard from him yet.
We will continue to follow this story and bring you the very latest.