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2nd crew member, dead cows found after sinking of livestock ship off Japan

Edvardo Sareno, rescued crew member of sunken livestock ship
Crew member Edvardo Sareno was rescued Wednesday after a livestock ship sank off the coast of Japan. A second crew member who was found did not survive.
(10th Regional Japan Coast Guard)

Japanese rescuers found a second crew member and multiple dead cows Friday in waters where a livestock ship capsized and is believed to have sunk during stormy weather two days earlier, coast guard officials said.

The man was found unconscious and floating face down about 75 miles northwest of the Japanese island of Amami Oshima in the East China Sea, where rescuers have been looking for the Gulf Livestock 1 ship and its missing crew since it sent a distress signal early Wednesday.

The man, whose nationality and crew status is unknown, was taken to a hospital but later pronounced dead, said Takahiro Yamada, a senior spokesman for the regional coast guard headquarters. He said rescuers also spotted dozens of cow carcasses floating in the area. Yamada said he was not aware so far of reports of any carcasses washing ashore along the Japanese coast.

The 11,947-ton ship, its 43 crew members and 5,800 cows left New Zealand in mid-August, bound for Tangshan on China’s eastern coast.

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A Filipino crew member, 45-year-old chief officer Edvardo Sareno, was rescued late Wednesday. He told rescuers that the ship stalled when an engine stopped, then capsized and sank after being hit broadside by a powerful wave.

“Thank you, thank you very much,” Sareno told rescuers as he was escorted onto a bigger ship, where he sat on a blue tarp, wrapped in blankets and taking a bottle of water. “I’m the only one? No other one?” he asked the rescuers, then added: “I’m so sorry ... [I’m] so lucky.”

Coast guard officials quoted Sareno as saying that he had put on a life jacket and jumped into the sea, and that he had not seen any other crew members since.

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The crew consisted of 39 members from the Philippines, two from New Zealand and two from Australia.

Rescuers in four coast guard boats and an aircraft as well as divers joined Friday’s search-and-rescue operations. A bundle of orange rope and a life jacket bearing the ship’s name were also recovered, according to a coast guard statement.

Typhoon Maysak was blowing by southern Japan at the time of the sinking. The ship’s automated tracker showed it sailing in high winds of 58 knots (66 miles per hour) at its last known position, according to the ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com.

“Our hearts go out to those onboard and their families at this time. We also express deep regret for the sad loss of the livestock on board,” the ship’s operator, Dubai-based Gulf Navigation Holdings PJSC, said in a statement. “We pray that there are other survivors.”

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Another powerful typhoon is approaching southern Japan over the weekend.


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