The body of a man who believed to be a crew member of a cargo ship that went missing in bad weather and rough seas earlier in the week was found lifeless and drifting in the sea off Kagoshima Prefecture, the Japan Coast Guard and local media said Friday.
The body, that could have been in the sea since the early hours of Wednesday when the freighter first sent out a distress call, was retrieved from the sea at around 6:30 a.m. local time off Amami-Oshima Island in southwestern Japan’s Kagoshima Prefecture, local media quoted coast guard officials as saying.
When the body was found, it was still attached to a life vest bearing the name of the stricken 11,947-ton Gulf Livestock 1 freighter, the officials said.
On Wednesday at around 1:45 a.m. local time, the ship sent a distress call when it was in waters 180 km west of Amami-Oshima, the coast guard was reported as saying.
There were 43 foreign crew members and 5,800 heads of cattle on board when the freighter left New Zealand on Aug. 18 headed for China where it was scheduled to arrive on Friday.
On Wednesday night search and rescue teams saved a Filipino crew member who was adrift in choppy waters.
He was quoted as telling Japan Coast Guard officials that the freighter was battered by waves hitting the side of the ship.
The Panamanian-registered vessel, after one of its engines was knocked out, capsized, the crew member also said.
The coast guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) were continuing to search for other crew members still unaccounted for.
The crew members comprised two Australians, 39 Filipinos and two New Zealanders, local media reported.