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Cargo ship carrying 43 crew and thousands of cattle sinks off Japan, survivor tells rescuers

Emergency workers rescue a crew member, later identified as Eduardo Sareno, from a cargo ship lost off Japan’s southern islands on Wednesday. (10th Regional Japan Coast Guard Headquarters/AP)

TOKYO — A rescued crew member of a cargo ship that went missing off Japan told emergency workers that the vessel, carrying 43 members and about 5,800 cattle, sank in stormy seas after getting caught in a typhoon, officials said Thursday.

The 11,947-ton Gulf Livestock 1 sent a distress call about 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, 115 miles west of the Japanese island of Amami Oshima in the East China Sea, as Typhoon Maysak unleashed powerful winds and torrential rain, causing turbulent seas in the area, Japan’s Defense Ministry and coast guard said.

A naval P-3C surveillance aircraft spotted a Filipino crew member wearing a life vest and waving while bobbing up and down in the water on Wednesday night, the Defense Ministry said. The crew member was picked up by a coast guard patrol boat. He is able to walk, and his condition is not considered life-threatening, the coast guard said.

But the rest of the crew — 38 Filipinos, two Australians and two New Zealanders — remain missing, with bad weather hampering rescue efforts.

Japan finds second survivor after cargo ship sank in typhoon

The rescued man was named as 45-year-old Eduardo Sareno, the ship’s chief officer. He told the coast guard that one of the ship’s engines stopped running, after which the vessel was hit by waves, capsized and sank.

There was an announcement on board to wear life jackets as the ship was capsizing, at which point he put on a life jacket and jumped in the sea, the coast guard quoted Sareno as saying. He said he had not seen other crew members by the time he was rescued.

The Panama-registered ship was carrying the cattle from New Zealand to China when it ran into Maysak.

The storm barreled through South Korea’s southern and eastern coasts on Thursday, flooding streams, cutting power to thousands of homes and leaving at least one person dead.

Maysak is just the sixth Category 2 or greater storm to hit South Korea since 1959, but it is the fourth typhoon to hit the Korean Peninsula during this year’s Western Pacific typhoon season. It struck just a week after Typhoon Bavi affected the country on its way to a rare landfall in North Korea.

Typhoon Maysak brings 100 mph winds to Okinawa

North Korea’s state television news aired real-time footage on Thursday of flooding in the port city of Wonsan in the country’s east. State media has not reported any fatalities.

In South Korea’s port city of Busan, a woman died after she was hit by shattered glass, the Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday.

Nuclear power reactors in the path of the storm were automatically turned off early Thursday. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety in Seoul said the shutdown of four nuclear reactors near Busan was due to electricity supply issues and that no radiation leak was detected.

Forecasters expect another powerful storm, Typhoon Haishen, to threaten southwestern Japan and the Korean Peninsula in the coming days.

Min Joo Kim in Seoul and Akiko Kashiwagi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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