Tidal waves hit China coast; 3 dead,7 missing

Updated: 2007-03-06 19:05

JINAN -- At least three people were killed and seven more are still missing after tidal waves struck the coast of northern and eastern China over the last two days.

Powerful winds measuring up to 144.7 km per hour whipped up high waves which crashed into downtown areas of Weihai, a port city on the east China coast on Sunday and Monday, said the local fire and safety bureau.

The Yuanyao Dock near Sunjiatuan in Weihai collapsed during the onslaught of the surging tidal waves. One fisherman working just offshore and a worker on a boat moored at Yuanyao Dock drowned. One firefighter died in hospital after being injured in the carnage.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, a taxi with two passengers became trapped by the waves on its way to a dock in northern Weihai.

Fearing they would be washed out to sea, the taxi driver called the local fire control headquarters in Weihai. Eight fire fighters rushed to the site where the cab was stranded and dragged the three people out the cab, but were hit by further waves.

One fire fighter, the taxi driver and one passenger are now missing. Seven people, including six fire fighters and the other taxi passenger, are all in hospital. However, some workers were on boats near the dock when the new round of waves hit and their fate is currently unknown.

The tidal waves, the first since 1969, also destroyed greenhouses, ponds for breeding aquatic products, houses and utilities in the city, with the damage valued at more than 900 million yuan (about US$112.5 million).

Information from Hebei Provincial Meteorological Department said areas along the Bohai Rim in north China's Hebei Province were also hit by the worst tidal wave in 39 years over the weekend.

The waves did not cause any fatalities, but destroyed gas and power supplies in Cangzhou, Tangshan, Qinhuangdao and Tianjin, as well as offshore facilities for breeding aquatic products on the Bohai Sea.

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