Typhoon Hits Philippines; Report 18 Killed, Thousands Homeless With AM-Miriam, Bjt
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Typhoon Ruby roared past Manila early Tuesday and pounded the agricultural heartland of central Luzon island with winds gusting up to 140 mph and torrential rains, officials said.
The news media and other sources reported at least 18 people killed, scores missing and about 47,000 homeless.
A shipping company executive said a missing passenger ferry with nearly 500 people aboard was reported safe at a small island in the storm-swept Visayan Sea.
Edgar Go, vice president of Sulpicio Lines, said another vessel radioed that it had seen the passenger ship Dona Marilyn near Masbate island, 300 miles southeast of Manila, and all of the passengers and crew were safe.
But Carlos Go, general manager of the Sulpicio Lines that operates the Dona Marilyn, said later that a vessel sent to the area to confirm the report radioed that it had been unable to locate the passenger craft. He said the search was continuing.
The Dona Marilyn crew reported engine trouble Monday while en route from Manila to Tacloban City and said the ship was listing in stormy seas.
Rodrigo Roldan, civil defense director on Panay Island, said at least five people were killed Monday when a wind-blown bus careened off a bridge and plunged into a river.
He said 18 people, including the driver, were rescued but as many as 38 passengers were missing.
Simeon Licayan, executive secretary of Cagayan de Oro, said seven people were killed Sunday when tornados spawned by the advancing typhoon struck remote villages near the city 500 miles south of Manila.
The Philippines News Agency reported six people perished when floods washed away their homes near Pagadian City, 500 miles south of Manila. The Philippine Red Cross confirmed one death there.
The government weather service said Ruby’s center passed about 50 miles east of Manila early Tuesday and slashed into the farming provinces of Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.
Tuesday morning the storm weakened slightly but still had winds of 102 mph as it moved about 20 miles east of the huge U.S.-run Clark Air Base 50 miles north of Manila, according to the weather service.
U.S. Maj. Wayne Crist, a spokesman at the air base, said the storm blew down a number of large trees as it passed.
He said the extent of damage to the base facilities had not been determined, but aircraft that could not be sheltered had been moved to an undisclosed ″safe location.″
Schools were closed at Clark and the U.S.-operated Subic Navy Base and the American armed forces television network said only ″mission-essential personnel″ were on duty at U.S. military facilities.
In Manila all mayor banks and the city’s two stock markets suspended operations Tuesday.
There were power outages and scattered flooding throughout the capital.
Some commercial flights were canceled and schools were closed in Manila.
″This is one of the worst typhoons this year,″ said Juanito Lirios, deputy weather service director, just before the storm swept by Manila. ″If we do not take care there could be a great loss of lives.″
Ruby is the 18th typhoon or tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year and the second in four days.
The government’s Department of Social Welfare said at least 47,000 people were left homeless in the storm ravaged areas.