Typhoon Bolaven Capsizes Fishing Boats, Lashes Korea

Typhoon Bolaven killed at least eight people as it lashed the Korean peninsula with strong winds and heavy rain, capsizing fishing boats and grounding aircraft.

Five fishermen from two Chinese vessels drowned, 10 remained missing and 18 were safe ashore after the storm passed Jeju Island off the southern tip of Korea, according to an e-mailed statement from the Coast Guard.

Another three people were killed in separate accidents, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said, without providing details. Yonhap News reported that one of the victims was an apartment guard who was crushed by a container box, another a truck driver struck by a falling tree and the third a man who was hit by a cross that fell from a church.

While Seoul escaped widespread damage, as many as 109 overseas flights in and out of Incheon International Airport, the nation’s biggest gateway, were canceled as of 6 p.m. Almost 300 domestic flights from Gimpo, Gimhae, Jeju and other smaller South Korean airports were canceled, and some 87 ferry routes were closed today, according to the transport ministry.

The center of Bolaven was over the sea and 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang as of 6 p.m. local time, said Kim Dong Jin, a forecaster from the Korea Meteorological Administration’s typhoon center in Seoul.

U.S. and South Korean forces suspended military exercises due to the typhoon and will resume the drills tomorrow if the weather improves, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said by phone.

Power Cut

Power outages due to the typhoon disrupted operations at petrochemical plants at the Yeosu Industrial Complex, including those owned by LG Chem Ltd. and Hanwha Chemical Corp. LG Chem resumed operations after a one-hour stoppage while Hanwha Chemical forecast its plant may restart operations later in the day, spokesmen for the companies said.

A total of 1.7 million homes and commercial buildings temporarily lost power in southern areas of the peninsula, Korea Electric Power Corp. said in an e-mailed statement. As of 5 p.m., power was restored to 80 percent of the houses and buildings.

The typhoon flooded 314 hectares (776 acres) of rice paddies and damaged fruit across 800 hectares of pear farms, according to an e-mailed statement from the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Most schools in areas in South Korea hit or expected to be affected by the typhoon were closed today, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said.

Bolaven yesterday hammered into Japan’s southernmost islands, forcing flight cancellations, the closing of an oil refinery and one of the highest weather alerts at the Kadena U.S. military base on Okinawa.

Bolaven is the name for a plateau in Laos, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which lists names assigned to storms in the northwest Pacific.

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