Typhoon suspends S Korean flights and subway, kills 3

Typhoon Kompasu is the strongest tropical storm to hit Seoul area in 15 yrs.

Seoul: Typhoon Kompasu slammed into South Korea on Thursday, killing three people in what was called the strongest tropical storm to hit the Seoul area in 15 years.

Powerful gusts knocked over trees, power lines and streetlights, cutting off power to tens of thousands of homes and forcing airports to cancel or delay dozens of international flights, the National Emergency Management Agency said.

More than 60 international flights were delayed or cancelled, mostly to and from China, officials at Incheon and Gimpo airports said. Service on two Seoul subway lines and five railway routes was suspended, officials said.

An 80-year-old man died after being hit by a roof tile and a 37-year-old businessman was killed on his way to work by a falling tree branch, the emergency management agency said. A 75-year-old man was electrocuted while examining a transformer, and four people were injured by broken glass, it said.

Elementary and middle schools in the capital, Seoul, were ordered to delay the start of the school day by two hours, while all public and private kindergartens were closed for the day, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said.

The storm caused at least 10 billion won (USD 8.3 million) in damages to a soccer stadium in Incheon, west of Seoul, stadium officials said.

Power was out at more than 60,000 homes along South Korea`s west coast, officials said.

Kompasu, the Japanese word for "compass," landed on Ganghwa Island, about 40 miles (70 kilometres) west of Seoul, early Thursday morning, officials said.

The Korea Meteorological Administration issued a typhoon alert for Gangwon Province in the east, saying Kompasu was travelling northeast of Seoul and into North Korea.

Bureau Report