Missing vet’s best friend pleads: ‘Please don’t stop looking’

 

The best friend of missing veterinarian Lukas Orda says he is "tough" and has a "a lot to live for" and has pleaded for the Australian Government to help in a new search for survivors of a live export ship that sank near Japan.

Forty people including Mr Orda are still missing after the vessel Gulf Livestock 1, transporting 58000 cattle, suffered engine failure and capsized in a typhoon in the East China Sea on September 2.

Two of the vessel's 43 crew have been rescued and the body of another crew member has been found but Japan's coast guard has now scaled back its search.

 

Lukas Orda has been missing since September 2 when the live cattle ship Gulf Livestock 1 capsized in the South China Sea.
Lukas Orda has been missing since September 2 when the live cattle ship Gulf Livestock 1 capsized in the South China Sea.

 

Mr Orda's best friend Trent Jorgensen, also a veterinarian, said there were still missing life rafts and a lifeboat and pleaded for the search efforts to be ramped up. A survivor also said when the boat was capsizing crew were told to put on life jackets.

Mr Orda's wife Emma only gave birth to son Theo six months ago and remains in Queensland desperately waiting for news.

"Initially when I heard the news I thought 100 per cent these guys would be found alive and well," Mr Jorgensen told The Sunday Mail.

"Lukas is a pretty tough bloke and he's got a lot to live for.

"I believed they would be found well and then once three days ticked by and a second typhoon came over the top we all thought that's it."

"And now it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride because circumstances have changed once again," he said.

"I think with the new evidence from the second survivor that everyone was in a life jacket and was boarding the life rafts, that has really changed the circumstances from last week."

Mr Jorgensen, who is speaking with Mr Orda's family every day, urged the Australian Government to "get in gear and take over".

"If you've got a brother or a wife or a kid just imagine the lengths you'd go - not even get them back - just a chance," he said.

 

Trent Jorgensen with his best friend and fellow veterinarian Lukas Orda.
Trent Jorgensen with his best friend and fellow veterinarian Lukas Orda.

 

Mr Jorgensen said he had been best mates with Mr Orda after they met and studied together at James Cook University. He was his best man when Lukas married his partner Emma last year.

"I certainly feel a lot of responsibility towards his wife and his young child Theo," Mr Jorgensen said.

"I speak with Emma and with his family, his parents Ulrich and Sabine, every day.

"It crushes your soul talking with someone's parents and wife.

"Just knowing there is a such a strong chance that he is still alive out there and we are just letting them float around and die," he said.

"They spend a lot of time looking for people who are dead - the missing Malaysian flight MH370 is one it is compared to a lot - just for the closure of bringing them home."

"But these guys are still alive and why are we sitting on our hands waiting for them to die?" he said.

Trent Jorgensen (right) who is best friends with missing veterinarian Lukas Orda (middle)
Trent Jorgensen (right) who is best friends with missing veterinarian Lukas Orda (middle)

When asked if the Australian Government would attempt to get involved in any way in the search a spokesman referred to a joint statement from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Minister Foreign Affairs Marise Payne issued on Friday.

"Australia is engaging Japanese authorities closely on Japan's search and rescue effort, acknowledging Japan's responsibilities in this instance under the International Search and Rescue Convention," the statement said.

"The Australian Government thanks Japan for its search and rescue effort, deploying air and sea assets over a vast area, in a very dangerous operation, given poor weather conditions caused by two recent typhoons off the coast of Japan.

"Japan's Coast Guard has advised the Australian Embassy in Tokyo and the Australian Consulate-General in Osaka 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 Australian Government acknowledges and respects the professionalism and continuing response of the Japanese authorities and will continue to engage them closely."

Originally published as Missing vet's best friend pleads: 'Please don't stop looking'



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