Typhoon damage shuts key Japan airport

Tokyo: A major international airport in western Japan has been closed, with thousands of people evacuated, in the wake of deadly Typhoon Jebi.

Kansai airport, a major transport hub serving Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, was cut off when an ocean tanker hit and damaged its bridge to the mainland.

Jebi, Japan’s most powerful storm in 25 years, has killed at least 10 people.

It has left a trail of damage to infrastructure, ripping off roofs, overturning vehicles and cutting power.

The tanker was unmoored by the strong winds of Typhoon Jebi and drifted into the bridge.

Kansai International Airport is built on a man-made island and is linked to the mainland by the bridge.

About 3,000 passengers were stranded overnight, some for more than 18 hours in terminals without power, before ferries and speedboats were deployed to evacuate them on Wednesday.

Runways were also severely hit by surging water, with some aircraft flooded up to their engines.

All flights have been cancelled and there is no confirmation of when the airport will reopen.

The Kansai airport website could only say that the runways and bridge would reopen on “6 September or later”.  Some reports said it could take a week.

In 2016, Kansai handled more than 25 million passengers, making it the third busiest in Japan, with 400 flights a week, the BBC reported. –ONA