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Ship, Crewmembers Missing as Typhoon Sweeps Through Okinawa - 2002-09-05

A Philippine ship and its five crewmembers are still missing after Typhoon Sinlaku swept through Japan's Okinawa islands. The typhoon is moving westward, bringing torrential rain and high winds to Northern Taiwan.

Japanese Coast Guard ships are searching for the missing ship in the seas off Okinawa. The five-man crew sent a distress signal before dawn, but rough seas and high winds delayed the rescue effort.

Typhoon Sinlaku, named after a Micronesian goddess, brought heavy rain and winds of up to 144-kilometers an hour to the Okinawan islands. Flooding and power outages were reported after the eye of the storm passed over the islands late Wednesday.

Residents of northern Taiwan are bracing themselves as the typhoon moves west, although meteorologists in Taipei say the chances of Sinlaku making a direct hit are slim. Flights from Tapei's main airport were taking off on schedule, except those bound for Okinawa.

But the Taiwanese have reason to be afraid: the typhoon has already brought torrential rains to the island. Last year, floods and landslides caused by Typhoon Toraji killed more than 200-people.

Last week Typhoon Rusa hit South Korea, leaving at least 184-people there dead or missing.