Typhoon subsides after killing at least 31

The death toll from Typhoon Songda rose to 31 Wednesday, with at least 14 people still missing and more than 900 injured mainly in Hokkaido and western Japan.

Heavy rain and strong winds cut a wide swath across the archipelago, before the season’s 18th typhoon was downgraded to a tropical depression at around 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Meteorological Agency said.

Hokkaido felt the full force of the typhoon, the agency said. The city of Sapporo experienced winds of up to 180 kph before noon.

Japan Railways suspended services on the northern island and power outages affected about 136,000 households. Local authorities issued an evacuation advisory affecting nearly 460 households on the Sea of Japan coast.

Gale force winds also caused the collapse of a lighthouse and a breakwater about 1.5 km off Hakodate.

A total of seven people were killed in Hokkaido on Wednesday.

Two of the deaths were of men killed in Sapporo when they were hit by falling tree branches in separate incidents. A woman in Kimobetsu, Hokkaido, died under a collapsed barn.

Two men were swept away at fishing ports in separate incidents in Hokkaido on Wednesday. One of them was later found dead.

Nearly half of the 31 deaths nationwide were of sailors aboard two foreign freighters hit by the typhoon in western Japan on Tuesday.

The Japan Coast Guard on Wednesday found eight bodies believed to be those of crew members from the Indonesian-registered 6,315-ton freighter, the Tri Ardhianto, which broke up when it ran aground the previous day in Yamaguchi Prefecture, raising the number of deaths from the accident to 11.

The remaining 11 from the ship are still missing. All are Indonesian nationals.

The coast guard also continued its search for one missing sailor from the Cambodian-registered, 3,249-ton lumber transport ship, the Blue Ocean, which capsized Tuesday off Hiroshima. Three of the 18 Russian crew members on board were found dead and the remaining 14 were rescued.

On Tuesday, strong winds and high waves caused severe damage to the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine in Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture, a World Heritage site, and local officials were busy checking the extent of the damage Wednesday.

Airlines canceled 106 domestic flights and two international flights Wednesday, affecting more than 14,000 passengers. On Tuesday, 82 domestic flights and two international flights were scrubbed, affecting nearly 13,000 travelers.

Songda is the seventh typhoon to land on Japan proper this year, breaking the record of six in a single season.

The weather agency said Typhoon Sarika, the season’s 19th, was downgraded to a tropical depression while heading toward Japan.

Songda followed close behind Typhoon Chaba, which left at least 13 people in Japan dead, and Megi, which killed at least 10.