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Typhoon wreaks havoc in Japan major airport

Osaka, Wednesday

Japan scrambled Wednesday to evacuate passengers trapped at a major airport when a tanker slammed into its only access bridge during the most powerful typhoon to hit the country for 25 years.

Typhoon Jebi left a trail of destruction Tuesday, killing 11 people and injuring hundreds more as it battered western Japan with ferocious winds and lashing rain.

Winds up to 216 kilometres per hour ripped off roofs, overturned trucks and swept a 2,500-tonne tanker into the bridge to Kansai International Airport, the region’s main international gateway and a national transport hub.

The damage to the bridge left the artificial island housing the airport temporarily cut off, stranding 3,000 travellers overnight as high waves flooded the runways and some buildings, knocking out the power. On Wednesday boats began ferrying people out of the airport, and buses began to run on one side of the damaged bridge after safety inspections.

“We’re very sorry” that the passengers had to stay overnight in the airport, an official told a press conference. “We’ll transport all the travellers who wish to get out of the airport by the end of today, but we’ll continue the bus and ferry service,” he said. — AFP