3 US army officials swept away to sea as typhoon slams into Japan
Typhoon Phanfone slammed into Japan on Monday.
It packed gusting winds and huge waves that swept three US military officials out to sea.
Winds of up to 180kmh whipped ashore as the typhoon made landfall in central Japan early in the morning, the meteorological agency said.
The storm whirled over Tokyo at around 11am (10am, Singapore time) and then headed northeast, dumping rain further up the coast of Honshu while its eye moved out over the Pacific Ocean.
Six people are already dead or missing, including the three US military officials, according to Japanese police and coast guards.
The three US military officials were engulfed by high waves triggered by the storm on the southern island of Okinawa.
“Three officials were taking pictures with high waves whipped up by the typhoon in the background,” a local police spokesman said.
“One has been found dead, with the two others still missing,” he said early on Monday.
A 21-year-old surfer was also missing in the Pacific off Fujisawa, southwest of Tokyo, a coast guard spokesman said.
The typhoon has also grounded more than 600 flights, and caused the cancellation of dozens of bullet train services.
It also forced Japanese authorities to suspend the search on a volcano for the bodies of those still missing more than a week after it erupted suddenly, claiming dozens of lives.
The leading edge of the storm brought a nasty commute to Tokyo’s morning rush hour, with hundreds of thousands of office workers caught up in the driving rain that lashed the streets.
A pedestrian struggles to hold on to his umbrella in Tokyo on Monday.