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Three U.S. marines hurt in tornado

Compiled from AP, Kyodo

A tornado hit the Camp Schwab U.S. military base in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on Saturday, injuring three marines, including one who was rushed to a hospital after suffering cuts, police said.

The gust hit at around 1 p.m., toppling cars and cutting power lines, prefectural police spokeswoman Tamao Ishikawa said.

The wind, which police said is believed to be a tornado, damaged 19 cars parked at the base, overturning four in a parking lot. Power lines inside the military base were cut.

Two of the marines suffered only scratches, but the condition of the third, who suffered a laceration, was not known.

None of the three injuries were life-threatening, said another police official, Yoshiaki Shimoji.

An antenna for the radio communications equipment of a fishing boat at a nearby port was also broken by the gust, but no other major damage was reported outside the base, the police said.

When the gust occurred, warnings of heavy rain and flooding were in place as a weather front was passing through the area, according to the Okinawa meteorological observatory.

Tornadoes are relatively rare in Japan, but the latest incident came about 10 days after the nation's deadliest tornado on record hit the remote town of Saroma, Hokkaido, killing nine and leaving in its wake a pile of collapsed buildings, badly damaged cars and utility poles strewn across streets.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006
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