There are grave concerns for two missing Australians from a livestock ship that capsized off the coast of Japan last Wednesday, one of whom is a former Bathurst resident.
William Mainprize, 27, is one of 40 people missing after the Gulf Livestock 1 vessel capsized in the East China Sea during a typhoon en route to China from New Zealand.
He was on board as an Australian Certified Stockman tasked with maintaining welfare standards of livestock.
Two New Zealanders are also among the missing, and worried friends and family are lobbying the Australian and NZ governments to intervene after Japanese Coast Guard called off the full-time search on Wednesday.
Mr Mainprize studied advertising at Charles Sturt University's [CSU] Bathurst campus from 2012 to 2014, and spent time working as a teacher's aide at Denison College- Bathurst High Campus.
CSU Bathurst PhD communications student and good friend Kane Callaghan said Mr Mainprize was well loved in the community during his time living here.
"Will was in his second year when I started at CSU, and he was one of those guys who everyone knew, whether it be the university community or the Bathurst community," Mr Callaghan said.
"A lot of students come to CSU without getting too involved in the greater Bathurst community, but not Will, he was an explorer.
"He'd always seek out places of tranquillity around the Bathurst region, and loved visiting places like Hill End and Flat Rock."
Mr Callaghan said Mr Mainprize highly valued his time as a teacher's aide at Bathurst High, displaying a strong passion to help disadvantaged students.
"He loved that job, Will constantly raved about the students and teachers he got to work with," he said.
With time of the essence, Mr Callaghan said he, along with Will's friends and family, are holding out hope for his survival.
"Australia's a very fortunate country with plenty of resources to assist in the relief effort and while it's a complex matter, we're not abandoning hope," he said.
A Change.org petition has been started to lobby the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade [DFAT] and the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to assist in the search.
In just 24 hours, the petition had amassed over 20,000 signatures.
A DFAT spokesperson said "the government is providing consular assistance to the families of two Australian crew members on board a cargo vessel reported missing in Japanese waters."
"Owing to our privacy obligations, we are unable to provide further comment."