Helicopters pluck residents to safety as rains lash Japan

2015-09-10 12:53
A police helicopter lifts an evacuee with a rescue police officer from floodwaters in Joso city in Ibaraki prefecture. (Kazuhiro Nogi, AFP)

A police helicopter lifts an evacuee with a rescue police officer from floodwaters in Joso city in Ibaraki prefecture. (Kazuhiro Nogi, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - Helicopters plucked dozens of residents from the tops of their homes in Japan on Thursday, but rescue officials said they were unable to keep up with all the pleas for help after raging floodwaters swamped parts of a city north of Tokyo.

As heavy rain pummelled Japan for a second straight day, the Kinugawa River broke through a flood berm, sending a wall of water into Joso, about 50km northeast of Japan's capital.

National broadcaster NHK showed aerial footage of rescuers lowered from helicopters and clambering onto second-floor balconies to reach stranded residents. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

In one dramatic scene, the rescuer could be seen descending four times from a military helicopter over a 20-minute period to lift up four people one-by-one, as a deluge of water swept around their home.

Nearby a man clung to a utility pole as the waters rose, before being taken up by a rescuer who had to be first lowered into the water so he could make his way over to the man.

Others waved cloths from their decks or roofs to get attention as torrents of water washed away cars and knocked buildings off their foundations. Photos from Japan's Kyodo news service showed people waiting for help on top of cars and a 7-11 delivery truck, surrounded by water that nearly submerged the cars.

Tropical Storm Etau

Kyodo reported that 39 people had been rescued by Japan's Self-Defence Forces, as its military is called, and rescue work was continuing.

Akira Motokawa, a city evacuation official, told NHK that rescuers have been unable to respond to the volume of calls for help.

The Transport Ministry estimated that 6 900 households have been affected by the flooding, Kyodo said, adding only about 2 500 of the city's residents had been evacuated beforehand to shelters. The floodwaters reached at least 8km from the breach.

Tokyo was drenched with rain, but the hardest-hit area was to the north in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures. One woman was missing hours after a landslide hit houses at the foot of a steep, wooded incline. Bullet train service was partially suspended.

The rains came on the heels of Tropical Storm Etau, which caused similar flooding and landslides Wednesday as it crossed central Japan.

The Fire and Disaster and Management Agency said 15 people were injured by Etau, two seriously, both elderly women who were knocked over by strong winds.

Read more on:    japan  |  weather

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.