2 Confirmed Dead, U.S. Serviceman Missing as Typhoon Lashes Japan
Aug. 14, 1996
TOKYO (AP) _ Typhoon Kirk left at least two people dead and 16 injured in southwestern Japan today as it swept onto the main island of Honshu, heading for Hiroshima. An American serviceman was missing at sea.
Torrential rain and wind gusting up to 130 mph lashed the coast, and weather officials warned of waves up to 27 feet.
The bodies of a Japanese woman swept into the ocean on Monday and a Japanese man who went snorkeling in high seas today have been recovered, Okinawan prefectural police spokesman Yoshimi Kobayashi said.
Earlier today, Kirk slammed through Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, 570 miles southwest of Tokyo, seriously injuring at least 16 people, according to local officials in the seven prefectures on the island. Most were hit by falling objects or thrown against trees or walls by gusts of wind.
At least 120 homes and other buildings on Kyushu were damaged, said Manabu Yoshitome of the Kagoshima prefectural government. The storm cut power, disrupted transportation and and forced more than 8,500 people to flee their homes.
A total of 20 inches of rain was expected in Kyushu and southwestern Honshu by Thursday morning.
By midafternoon today, Kirk was about 400 miles southwest of Tokyo and headed northwest, closing in on Hiroshima with sustained winds of 89 miles an hour, the Central Meteorological Agency said.
The search continued today for a U.S. sailor who disappearing under the waves Tuesday near Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo.
A Japanese coast guard helicopter spotted two men struggling in the water and managed to rescue one, but the other disappeared before a rope could be lowered to him, said Minoru Karimata of the Okinawan coast guard.
The coast guard had said the two men were probably surfing, but Karimata said that no longer appeared to be the case.
After questioning the rescued man, authorities believe the two were watching the waves from a seawall when they were dragged into the water by breakers, Kobayashi said.
The rescued man was in good condition, the U.S. Air Force said. Neither man's identity has been made public.
Only minor damage was reported to the American bases and residences on Okinawa, home to nearly two-thirds of the 47,000 U.S. troops in Japan.
The storm _ called Kirk by the U.S. military in Guam, which names typhoons in the northwestern Pacific _ is the area's 12th of the season.