An Australian veterinarian among 42 crew still missing after a live export ship capsized in the East China Sea penned a heartbreaking Facebook post days before he vanished.
Lukas Orda, 25, from the Gold Coast, was on board Australian-owned Gulf Livestock 1 when the captain sent a distress call to the Japanese Coast Guard at about 1.20am on Wednesday.
Mr Orda and his wife Emma welcomed their first child, Theo, six months ago.
And just days before he boarded the ship in June the wrote: ‘And the first 20 day stretch of my trip starts’ along with a map of his journey.
Lukas Orda (left) left his new wife Emma (right) and their six-month-old son, Theo, to embark on his first long journey taking care of the 6,000 animals on board Gulf Livestock 1
Lukas Orda, 25, wrote about his long voyage to Yantai, China on Facebook as he left in June
Young father and veterinarian Lukas Orda (pictured with wife Emma) is among 42 crew members still missing after their live export ship disappeared in the East China Sea
Mr Orda joined the livestock company as a veterinary officer in June and is one of two Australians on board the ship which went missing after leaving Port of Portland in Victoria three months ago.
The ship left New Zealand on August 14 and was due to arrive in Tangshan, China on Friday but the captain sent a distress call to the Japanese Coast Guard at about 1.20am on Wednesday.
Chief executive of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC), Mark Harvey-Sutton, told ABC Radio they are waiting ‘anxiously’ for news.
He said the second Australian on the cargo ship is believed to be a stock handler.
‘It is a very close-knit community the live stock industry both here and in New Zealand, so everyone is very concerned about the situation and we’re just hoping for the best,’ said Mr Harvey-Sutton.
A Filipino crew member (pictured) who was rescued after a distress signal was sent by the Australian owned Gulf Livestock 1 said the ship capsized and sunk in rough weather caused by Typhoon Maysak
Rescue teams are continuing their search for the ship and the remaining 42 crew members which include 38 from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia
The vessel had almost 6,000 cattle on board when it disappeared west of Amami Oshima in south-western Japan.
Japan’s coast guard dispatched planes and rescue boats to hunt for the ship and late Wednesday found a sole survivor, Sareno Edvarodo, the ship’s 45-year-old Filipino chief officer.
Dramatic photos released by the coast guard showed Edvarodo floating in the darkness in an orange life jacket and being pulled onto a boat with a rope as rescuers battled violent, rolling waves.
He was quickly brought to a large vessel, where coast guard personnel with surgical masks and gloves wrapped him with blankets.
‘Water,’ he said, identifying himself as a Filipino in the video. ‘Thank you, thank you very much.’
According to Edvarodo, the vessel lost an engine before it was hit by a wave and capsized, a coastguard spokeswoman said.
The crew were instructed to put on life jackets and Edvarodo said he jumped into the water and didn’t see any other crew member before he was rescued.
Rescue teams are continuing their search for the ship and the remaining 42 crew members which include 38 from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia.
Based on the last known location of the ship it would have been sailing in high winds of 58 knots (107km/h).
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) is waiting ‘anxiously’ for news of Lukas Orda (right) and his fellow crew
Based on the last known location of the ship it would have been sailing in high winds of 58 knots (107km/h) caused by Typhoon Maysak (pictured over South Korea)