(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Typhoon Jebi on Tuesday struck the heart of one of Japan’s largest metro areas, killing ten people and shutting down Osaka’s main international airport indefinitely.
The storm also shuttered shops, factories and amusement parks.
The storm was the strongest to make a direct hit on the nation’s main islands in 25 years, causing high tides that flooded Kansai International Airport, a key gateway for flights from China and other Asian countries that was built on an artificial island in 1994.
About 3,000 people, including passengers, were stranded there after an access bridge to the airport was damaged by a drifting tanker, and 700 flights were canceled across Japan. Kansai Airport will not reopen on Wednesday.
A high-speed boat that links the airport with nearby Kobe Airport was making special runs on Wednesday morning to extract the stranded people. The boat can carry 110 passengers at a time. Kansai Airport’s operator said buses may also be used in the effort, taking lanes not affected by the ship’s collision with the bridge.
Kansai is the nation’s third largest airport, after Tokyo gateways Narita and Haneda. In 2017, it handled 28 million passengers, three quarters of them from overseas.
One of the airport’s two runways and the ground floor of a terminal building, used for sorting luggage and other activities, were under dozens of centimeters of water.
The airport’s ground vehicles were partly submerged by the deluge, and the bridge was slammed by a 2,591-ton tanker that the storm unmoored. Public broadcaster NHK aired footage showing a huge crater in the bridge.