3 US Airmen Swept Out to Sea in Japan

1 dead; search under way off coast of Okinawa
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2014 9:28 AM CDT
Updated Oct 5, 2014 11:00 AM CDT
Amid Japan Typhoon, 3 US Airmen Swept Out to Sea
Pedestrians struggle to cross a street in Miyazaki, southern Japan, in heavy rain and strong winds caused by a powerful typhoon approaching to Japan, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News, Takanori Ichikawa)

The US military is searching for two of three airmen who were swept out to sea today off the coast of Okinawa as Typhoon Phanfone bore down on Japan. One of the three was found dead. They had been on Okinawa island's northern coast when they were overcome by the waves, according to a rep for the Japanese coast guard's Okinawa branch. The Air Force said the search for the missing airmen had been interrupted by rough seas. Their names were being withheld pending notification of relatives, reports the AP.

Though expected to diminish, Phanfone was packing a punch, with winds of up to 104mph, reports CNN. "We're talking torrential rain and also significant wind," says a meteorologist. And with 4 to 8 inches of rain expected, mudslides could be an issue in mountainous regions—particularly Mount Ontake, where a deadly volcanic eruption late last month has left a thick layer of ash. (More Okinawa stories.)

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