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Families Of Australians Missing From Sunk Export Ship Plead With Government To Renew Search

Families Of Australians Missing From Sunk Export Ship Plead With Government To Renew Search

The families of missing Australians Lukas Orda, 25, and William Mainprize, 27, say there is still hope they are alive and have pleaded with officials to resume the search for survivors.

The sailors were on board the Gulf Livestock 1 which capsized off Japan after being caught in a typhoon on September 2.

Gulf Livestock 1 sunk during Typhoon Maysak. Credit: VesselFinder.Com
Gulf Livestock 1 sunk during Typhoon Maysak. Credit: VesselFinder.Com

There are 40 crew members still unaccounted for after two Filipino men were found alive after the sinking, the last of them was rescued a week ago.

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On Wednesday (September 9) Japan's Coast Guard advised it was scaling back efforts to locate survivors more than a week after the ship went missing during a powerful typhoon in the East China Sea.

However the families of the missing Australians are now pleading with the Federal Government to lead a renewed search, saying they are concerned that people 'could be still floating in the ocean awaiting rescue' from one of the ship's four life rafts and a lifeboat, which remain missing.

Lukas' parents - his dad Ulrich Orda, who is head doctor at Mount Isa hospital emergency department, and his mum Sabine - have started an online Change.org petition to renew the search, and also include William, the two New Zealanders and the 36 men from the Phillipines in their plea.

Their petition says the Orda family is 'greatly appreciative of the work and dedication of the Japan Coast Guard' but 'devastated' to hear the full-time search is over.

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Japan's Coast Guard rescued a Filipino crew member on September 2. Credit: PA Images
Japan's Coast Guard rescued a Filipino crew member on September 2. Credit: PA Images

They believe from information provided by those rescued that other crew members made it into life rafts and could still be floating in the sea awaiting rescue.

They ask for help to enlist other nations to help the Japanese with the search 'to find our loved ones'.

"We [Australia] have set the bar high previously with our own searches for the missing Malaysian flight MH370 along with the successful rescue of other seafarers," they wrote.

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They believe the information they have would provide a better outcome than the MH370 search.

The family maintains there is a 'strong possibility that at least some of the crew members including Lukas... made it into a missing lifeboat or raft'.

"When the engine of the ship failed in the storm the captain called all crew on the bridge in life vests to enter the lifeboats," the petition says.

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The Mainprize family have echoed the Orda's sentiments and are asking for help from government or private enterprise to help find the missing men.

Speaking to ABC News Breakfast, William's brother, Tom Mainprize said the family had not given up hope and wanted to see the search ramped up again.

"To begin with, we thought all hope was lost and then we started to get really promising information that there could be life rafts and life boats out there, still waiting to be rescued," Tom said.

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"Reports that we've been getting back from the Japanese Coast Guard that everybody was kind of ready before the boat eventually capsized and they were all above deck.

"There's still a really good chance that they were able to get off in time."



He said now that the typhoon had passed, search conditions were promising.

"We really were surprised when we got the message that the search has been scaled down," he said.

In the emotional interview, Tom told how his brother was trained in how to survive.

"I know that he really would have no fear out there as most people would," he said.

The family have also started an online petition, you can sign it here.

As things stand, Japan's Coast Guard will continue to search for survivors, but only as part of its regular patrols.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Topics: News, Australia