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Family of missing vet Lukas Orda make emotional plea for search to resume after live export ship capsized

By George Roberts, Friday September 11, 2020 - 17:28 EST
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The parents of missing Queensland vet Lukas Orda have called on the Federal Government to continue searching for their son. - ABC

The parents of an Australian man, missing after a live export ship capsized off the coast of Japan, have begged for the search to be resumed.

Queensland veterinarian, Lukas Orda, and New South Wales man, Will Mainprize, were among

The ship sank off the Japanese coast after being hit by two typhoons.

On Wednesday Japan's Coast Guard scaled back its search for survivors, more than a week after the ship sent out a distress call.

'We beg you'

Lukas Orda's father, Ulrich Orda asked Australians to pressure on the Federal Government to resume the search.

"We are speaking with our hearts in our hands," Dr Orda said.

"We beg you not to stop looking for Lukas and the other people missing at sea.

"We implore you not to give up on the chance of there being survivors."

Dr Orda said one of the survivors who had been found was swept off the bridge of the ship by large waves.

One of the survivors told authorities the crew were ready to abandon the ship on life boats.

"We were devastated to hear that the search for all missing loved ones was halted," Dr Orda said.

"Before the accident happened everyone was wearing life vests.

"The captain called everyone to go to the bridge to enter the life boats.

"We extend our plea to all Australians: please help us so the Government will recommence and extend its search to bring them home."

Dr Orda fought back tears and hugged his wife Sabine.

He said his plea was on behalf of the entire family, including Lukas Orda's wife and his six-month-old son.

Japanese search 'continues'

Late on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne released a statement saying Japan's Coast Guard had advised the Australian Embassy in Tokyo that "wide area surveillance by air and sea continues".

"Australia is encouraging Japan's ongoing air and sea efforts, and continues to offer the Japanese authorities any supporting capability needed. Japan's Coast Guard has assured Australia it will not give up its search for those missing," the statement said.

"The Australian Government acknowledges the distress of the family and friends of those missing since the capsizing of Gulf Livestock I on September 2.

"Our thoughts are with their loved ones at this very difficult time.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to provide the families of the missing Australians with all possible consular assistance."

'We owe it to them'

An emotional Katter's Australian Party MP, Robbie Katter, said it was possible the 40 missing crew members could have survived.

"There's four lifeboats still unaccounted for and people can live for up to 30 days on a lifeboat," Mr Katter said.

"As of the day before yesterday, the search was scaled back to a routine patrol, which really means there is no search," Mr Katter said.

"These people could have moved 1,000 kilometres from this spot, so if anyone was going to have any hope, you'd have to expand the dimensions of that search.

"It's quite likely that there could be some boats and people on board those boats — floating and waiting for someone to come and help them."

Mr Katter compared the search to the international efforts to find the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370, which is believed to have plummeted into the Indian Ocean in 2014.

"It was a search that continued for people they knew were deceased … [yet] they extended that search up to two years," Mr Katter said.

"We feel we owe it to these people to keep searching for them, if they are out there waiting for us to find them."


© ABC 2020

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