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Officials Apologize for What Happened to Woman, 70

Typhoon has killed up to 33 in Japan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 13, 2019 3:00 PM CDT
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Vehicles are seen in mud water as Typhoon Hagibis hit the city in Sano, Tochigi prefecture, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.   (Kyodo News via AP)
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(Newser) – Helicopters, boats, and thousands of troops were deployed across Japan to rescue people stranded in flooded homes Sunday, as the death toll from a ferocious typhoon climbed to as high as 33. One woman fell to her death as she was being placed inside a rescue helicopter, the AP reports. Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo on Saturday evening and battered central and northern Japan with torrents of rain and powerful gusts of wind. The typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday. Public broadcaster NHK said 14 rivers across the nation had flooded, some spilling out in more than one spot. Among the developments:

  • The Tokyo Fire Department said a woman in her 70s was accidentally dropped 131 feet to the ground while being transported into a rescue helicopter in Iwaki city in Fukushima prefecture, a northern area devastated by the typhoon. Department officials held a news conference to apologize, bowing deeply and long.
  • The government's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, which tends to be conservative in its counts, said late Sunday that 14 people died, 11 were missing, and 187 were injured as a result of the typhoon. It said 1,283 homes were flooded and 517 were damaged, partially or totally. One Japanese media tally had 33 people dead and 19 missing.
  • Early Sunday, the government said some 376,000 homes were without electricity, and 14,000 lacked running water.
  • News footage showed a rescue helicopter hovering in a flooded area in Nagano prefecture where an embankment of the Chikuma River broke, and streams of water were continuing to spread over residential areas. The chopper plucked those stranded on the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters.
  • Aerial footage showed tractors at work trying to control the flooding and several people on a rooftop, with one waving a white cloth to get the attention of a helicopter. Nearby was a child's school bag.
  • A section of the city of Date in Fukushima prefecture was also flooded, with only rooftops of residential homes visible in some areas, and rescuers paddled in boats to get people out. Parts of nearby Miyagi prefecture were also underwater.
(The typhoon struck on Saturday.)

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