Asia

Chinese fishermen killed as typhoon hits South Korea

  • 28 August 2012
  • From the section Asia

At least five Chinese fishermen have been killed and 10 others are missing after their boats capsized as Typhoon Bolaven hit South Korea, officials say.

The two boats were just off Jeju island when they capsized. The South Korean coast guard rescued 12 crew members, while six others swam to shore.

Three other people have also died in separate incidents in the country.

The typhoon has cut power to tens of thousands of homes. Trees have been felled and many flights cancelled.

A total of 33 people were on board the two ships when they were hit by high waves and winds, the coast guard said.

Several crew members were hauled to safety by rescue personnel using ropes. A search is continuing for those still missing, emergency personnel said.

In other parts of the country a man was crushed by a shipping container, a woman fell off her roof and another person was hit by debris from a building.

Across the country ferry services and hundreds of flights have been cancelled. All schools in Seoul and most others nationwide have closed for the day, Yonhap news agency reported.

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US and South Korean forces have halted a major joint exercise that had started last week.

"We have completed evacuating vessels and aircrafts, and units training outdoors have all returned to the base," Lee Boong-woo, a spokesman for the joint chiefs of staff, told the Associated Press news agency.

"We will decide on the resume of the UFG [Ulchi Freedom Guardian] exercise after the typhoon depending on the damage or effect of it."

Warnings issued

Meanwhile, China has issued a yellow alert - the second-highest level - as forecasters expect Bolaven to make landfall in Dandong in the north-eastern Liaoning province and north-western North Korea on Tuesday, China's state Xinhua news agency reported.

On Sunday the typhoon hit the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Kagoshima, leaving some 75,000 households without power. At least four people were injured.

The latest typhoon is the 15th destructive storm of the season in East Asia.

Bolaven comes just after Typhoon Tembin, which has caused widespread damage in Taiwan.

On Monday night, Taiwan was bracing for Tembin to hit the same southern region where it unleashed more than 50cm (20 inches) of rain within 24 hours several days ago.

But early on Tuesday the typhoon appeared to have passed off the southern coast, without making landfall.

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