Dramatic footage reveals challenging rescue conditions as search for missing livestock carrier continues

New footage shows just how challenging the conditions are facing Japanese rescuers searching for a missing livestock carrier.

Gulf Livestock 1 disappeared after signalling a distress signal west of Amani Oshima, Japan, on Wednesday.

The vessel, which left Napier on August 14 was carrying almost 6000 cattle and was bound for Jingtang, China. 

There were 43 crew members onboard the vessel, including two New Zealanders, two Australians and 39 crew from the Philippines.

On Thursday, a Filipino crew member, Sareno Edvardo, was plucked from the sea by the Japanese Coastguard.

He told rescuers the ship capsized and sank.

Edvardo was hospitalised on Thursday morning and was able to walk, Japan's Coastguard said.

The incident came as the region was lashed by Typhoon Maysak, making rescue conditions particularly difficult. And with another typhoon - Haishen - due to hit soon, rescuers are now in a race against time.

RNZ reported on Friday that dozens of dead cows had been found off the coast of east China.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters told RNZ that news of another typhoon would make an already difficult situation tougher.

"It's just adding to the problem and at this point in time it's building up, and we can't be certain at all about our capacity to put assets in there to do the job they're trying to do," he said.

"This is a serious disaster with so many lives at stake, we hoped for something better but it's not a good situation at all."

On Thursday the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to the families of the missing New Zealanders.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has temporarily suspended live cattle exports following the incident.