A second crew member has been found alive from a ship carrying livestock that capsized and sank during a typhoon off the southern coast of Japan. But another storm expected to hit the area over the weekend is likely to hamper the search for 40 other people still missing.
The Gulf Livestock 1, a 450-foot ship with a cargo of some 5,800 cows en route from New Zealand to China, issued a distress call early Wednesday Japan time near the island of Amami Oshima, north of Okinawa. The ship’s “mayday” was sent from an area affected by Typhoon Maysak, a powerful Category 4 storm.
Japan’s coast guard said Friday that it had rescued Jay-nel Rosals, a 30-year-old Filipino deckhand. Another crew member, chief officer Edvardo Sareno, who was initially identified as Sareno Edvarodo, was located on Wednesday.
Rosals was wearing a life jacket and floating in a raft, the coast guard said without elaborating on his condition.
The two found alive are among the 39 crew listed as being from the Philippines. Two others are from New Zealand and two from Australia.
Earlier, a third crew member, who was not identified, was recovered from the water unconscious and facedown, a spokesman for the coast guard said, according to The Associated Press. The man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Searchers also said they had found a fuel slick on the sea surface and dozens of floating animal carcasses.
After Sareno’s rescue on Wednesday, he told rescuers that the Gulf Livestock 1 was hit broadside by a large wave, capsized and sank. He managed to jump overboard wearing a life jacket but said he did not see any others escape from the sinking ship.
He reportedly asked rescuers: “I’m the only one?”
“I’m so sorry … [I’m] so lucky,” Sareno said, according to the AP.
The Panamanian-flagged vessel is owned and operated by the United Arab Emirates-based Gulf Navigation, which issued a statement about the disaster that was carried by media on Friday.
“Our hearts go out to those onboard and their families at this time,” a Gulf Navigation spokesman said. “We also express deep regret for the sad loss of the livestock onboard. We are monitoring the situation closely and working closely with those involved in rescue efforts. We pray that there are other survivors.”
Typhoon Haishen, bearing down on the same general area affected by Typhoon Maysak earlier this week, was likely to complicate the search for any remaining survivors. Japan’s Meteorological Agency forecasts that by Sunday, Haishen will pass near Okinawa, just south of where the Gulf Livestock 1 went down. The JMA said the storm has the potential to be even more dangerous than Maysak.