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One U.S. Airman Dead, Two Missing After Typhoon Phanfone Slams Okinawa

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A powerful typhoon lashed southern Japan on Sunday, churning up high waves that washed three American airmen out to sea and killed at least one before taking aim at Tokyo. Elsewhere in the Pacific, a separate typhoon whipped the Mariana Islands, including Guam, with high winds and heavy rain.

By late Sunday, Typhoon Phanfone was off the coast of Shikoku in southwestern Japan, with winds of up to 144 kilometers (90 miles) per hour after hitting the regions of Okinawa and Kyushu, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

One of the three airmen was found dead. The other two were missing, according to the Air Force and the Japanese coast guard. They had been on Okinawa island's northern coast when they were overcome by the waves, according to Tsuguyoshi Miyagi of the coast guard's Okinawa branch.

The Air Force said the search for the missing airmen had been interrupted by rough seas. Their names were being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Okinawa is home to about half of the roughly 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan.

Several people on Kyushu island were injured in the typhoon. The storm also grounded more than 100 flights Sunday and knocked out power to more than 9,500 Kyushu homes.

In Suzuka, in central Japan, a French driver was severely injured following an accident in the Japanese Grand Prix that had to be shortened because the heavy rain made conditions too dangerous. Formula One driver Jules Bianchi of the Marussia team went off the track at a turn and hit a recovery vehicle that was removing a car that had crashed earlier.

An unconscious Bianchi was taken to a nearby hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a severe head injury. Race officials said he was in critical condition.

- The Associated Press

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