A Coast Guard official says the nearest Navy ship to the HMS Bounty during Hurricane Sandy was about 260 nautical miles away.
Cmdr. James Mitchell told a federal safety panel on Thursday that all other ships got out of the way of the storm as it approached. The Bounty sailed directly into its path.
Mitchell says that made him realize the Bounty didn't realize the situation it was getting into.
The panel is examining what led to the sinking of the replica 18th Century sailing ship during the October storm.
One crew member died and the captain was never found after the ship sank about 90 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
The 14 surviving crew members were rescued by the Coast Guard within hours after the ship rolled over.