TOKYO: The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years battered the west of the country on Tuesday with violent winds and heavy rain, killing six and injuring scores more.
Powerful gusts ripped sheeting from rooftops, overturned trucks on bridges and swept a tanker anchored in Osaka Bay into a bridge to Kansai International Airport.
The damage to the bridge left the airport cut off from the mainland and stranded around 3,000 people there, an official said.
The airport was now conducting safety tests on the undamaged section of the bridge, the official said, but it remained unclear when the passengers could leave.
High waves whipped up by the storm also flooded parts of the airport, where all flights were cancelled, and the severe weather caused power outages and travel chaos across much of the country.
Typhoon Jebi made landfall around noon, slamming into the west of the country with winds of up to 216 kilometres per hour.
The fast-moving storm quickly crossed the mainland, and by nightfall was heading out to sea from Ishikawa in central Japan.
Public broadcaster NHK reported at least six deaths in the storm, including a 71-year-old man killed in western Shiga prefecture after being trapped under a warehouse that collapsed in strong wind.
NHK said 164 people had suffered mostly minor injuries.
In Osaka, TV footage showed the large tanker smashing into the bridge connecting the city of Izumisano with Kansai airport, with its superstructure battering away part of the bridge.
Local TV also showed footage of a 100-metre tall ferris wheel in Osaka spinning furiously in the strong wind despite being switched off.
“I’ve never seen such a thing,” a 19-year-old boy at the scene told NHK.
Elsewhere, the winds whipped away part of the ceiling from Kyoto station and peeled off multi-storey scaffolding on a building in Osaka.
The storm left more than one million households without power and evacuation advisories were issued at one point for nearly 1.2 million people, with another 16,000 under stronger — though still not mandatory — evacuation orders.
Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2018