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Typhoon in Japan Kills 15

September 24, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ Typhoon Bart lashed southern Japan today, sweeping huge waves over homes, knocking cranes onto buildings and leaving at least 15 people dead.

Dozens were injured and hundreds of thousands were left without power when Bart, packing winds of nearly 80 mph, pounded Japan’s main southwestern island of Kyushu.

Bart was off the southwestern coast of the main island of Honshu today, the Meteorological Agency said.

It was expected to pass over the Sea of Japan before shooting over the northern island of Hokkaido on Saturday, the agency said. It was likely to miss Tokyo.

On Kyushu, the bodies of 12 people _ including two women aged 81 and 79 _ were recovered from homes submerged by high sea waves in Shiranui, a coastal town in Kumamoto prefecture, local police spokesman Shigeji Tominaga said.

More than 30 police officers were sent to Shiranui, where an unspecified number of homes were flooded close to their rooftops.

Also in Kumamoto, a 79-year-old man was found dead of electric shock from a power line that had fallen onto a street and a 50-year-old man died from loss of blood after he was hit by broken glass in his home, Tominaga said.

Another 50-year-old man died Thursday as the typhoon approached Kyushu. He was swept away in strong waves while trying to swim ashore after securing his boat, police said.

Television footage showed rescuers in a rubber boat searching the flooded town for missing residents.

In Hiroshima, two cranes at a factory were blown over onto a building, injuring four workers inside, factory spokesman Hirofumi Takada said.

The National Police Agency said landslides were reported at 165 locations and 2,016 homes were flooded in southwestern Japan because of the typhoon.

The national broadcaster NHK said a total of 88 people were injured on Kyushu and on the southernmost island of Okinawa, where the typhoon hit Wednesday.

NHK said about 8,000 people living along rivers evacuated to schools and other public facilities on high ground in the affected areas in Kyushu and parts of the main island of Honshu.

A total of 813,000 households were out of electricity in various parts of Kyushu today, NHK quoted Kyushu Electric Power Co. estimating.

Most domestic air flights and trains on Kyushu were either canceled or suspended because of the strong winds and rains. Warnings were issued on fears that heavy rains could weaken cliffs, thus causing landslides.

Earlier on Okinawa, 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo, 24 people were injured and about 110,000 homes suffered power outages. Dozens of homes were flooded. Television footage showed some cars turned upside down.

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