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At least three dead as Typhoon Wipha grazes Japan

Published on Oct 16, 2013 8:44 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - At least three people died as Typhoon Wipha - the "strongest in 10 years" - passed close to Tokyo, causing landslides that swallowed houses on a Japanese island on Wednesday.

Around 30 people were unaccounted for after five houses were destroyed or swept away by a series of landslides and floods on Oshima island, which sits some 120km south of the Japanese capital, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Emergency workers had rescued two people who were trapped inside a destroyed house by around 8am, NHK said, adding police and firefighters have not been able to access many areas. Tokyo Metropolitan Police announced two bodies had been discovered in a swollen river and one had been pulled from a smashed house, NHK said.

The local authority has not been able to confirm the safety of some 30 of the island's more than 8,300 residents, NHK said. It was not known if they were simply unable to make contact or if their situation was more grave. Calls to local Oshima police went unanswered.

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