7 dead, more missing as typhoon lashes Tokyo area

TOKYO (AP) A powerful typhoon triggered landslides and caused at least seven deaths on a Japanese island, before sweeping up the country's east coast, grounding hundreds of flights and paralyzing public transportation in Tokyo during Wednesday morning's rush hour.

An official on Izu Oshima island, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Tokyo, said rescue workers found seven bodies, most of them buried by mudslides.

Dozens of homes were destroyed, and more than 40 people are missing. "We have no idea how bad the extent of damage could be," town official Hinani Uematsu said.

NHK public television showed rescue workers struggling to dig a woman out of a heap of debris as she shrieked in pain. A rescuer told NHK that he almost walked by the spot without seeing the woman in the debris until she cried out, "Help!"

Typhoon Wipha packed winds of up to 180 kilometers per hour (110 mph) and stayed offshore in the Pacific. Dozens of schools were closed in the Tokyo area. More heavy rain and wind were forecast in northern Japan through Wednesday.