Jebi leaves trail of destruction
September 4, 2018 -- Typhoon Jebi, the worst storm to hit Japan in 25 years, killed more than 10 people as it tore through major cities, wrecking infrastructure and destroying homes.
A tanker that became unmoored by the typhoon's pounding waves and wind slammed into a bridge linking offshore Kansai International Airport to the mainland, damaging the bridge and the ship and stranded 3,000 passengers overnight at the airport. Under sunny skies Wednesday morning, they left by boat or were transported by buses across an intact road on the damaged bridge.
The airport is built on two artificial islands in Osaka Bay, and the high seas flooded one of the runways, cargo storage and other facilities, said the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. One passenger was slightly injured by shards from a window shattered by the storm.
Airport officials could not say when the airport would resume operations. Flooding has largely subsided, but assessments were still being done on possible damage to equipment key to flight operations and repairs of the damaged bridge.
The airport is a gateway for Asian tourists visiting Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. A closure of the only international airport serving one of Japan's key business and commercial areas has triggered concerns about its impact on Japan's tourism and economy.
The passengers who had been stranded overnight appeared relieved but exhausted and said they spent an uneasy night in the dark.
The deaths included a man in his 70s who was blown to the ground from his apartment in Osaka prefecture. Police said five others died elsewhere in the prefecture after being hit by flying objects or falling from their apartments. In nearby Shiga prefecture, a 71-year-old man died when a storage building collapsed on him, and a man in his 70s died after falling from a roof in Mie, officials said.
In nearby Nishinomiya in Hyogo prefecture, about 100 cars at a seaside dealership burned after their electrical systems were shorted out by sea water, fire officials and news reports said.