Nine dead, one lost as Mindulle hits central Vietnam

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At least nine people died and one went missing in typhoon Mindulle, the National Committee of Search and Rescue reported Wednesday.

The victims were swept away by floods or fell to their death while attempting to strengthen their houses in the storm.

On Monday, Mindulle grew from a tropical depression into a full-blown typhoon.

It weakened, two days later, after injuring at least 58 people and damaging over 40 boats and nearly 32,000 houses, according to the committee.

Mindulle is the third major storm to come out of the East Sea this season.

Damage to tens of thousands of acres of farmland, dykes and bridges were reported throughout the north central region. Formal statistics pertaining to the extent of the damage have, so far, not been released.

In the meantime, the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting warned that, while the typhoon has been downgraded, rains will continue in the central coast and the northern region and could lead to flash floods or landslides.

In July typhoon Conson, the first storm of the season, left at least one dead in Vietnam after killing 68 in the Philippines.

"˜A rare accident'

Also on Wednesday rescuers in Da Nang City said they have found ten fishermen who were listed as missing at the beginning of the week.

The Hoa Minh crewmembers were found drifting some 22 nautical miles from the Son Tra Peninsula in severely weakened condition.

Huynh Van Tu, one of the fishermen, said their boat broke down Monday afternoon in the throws of the typhoon. They radioed for help from the Da Nang Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Center (MRCC).

The crew of the SAR 412 reached the fishing boat, but couldn't approach it due to heavy rains and big winds, the fishermen remained on board, MRCC Director Tran Van Long said.

Rescuers threw the fishermen a tow rope which they secured to their boat, he added.

When the boats were some 15 kilometers off the coast, the tow broke and the fishing boat went missing, according to Long.

"It was a rare professional accident," he said.

Some locals still raised questions the MRCC's capacities.

Cao Van Minh, chief of Boat team No. 4 in Hoa Minh District, said when the accident happened they advised the MRCC rescuers to return to the site and focus on areas along the coast.

But, the MRCC refused to redirect their efforts and continued the search in accordance with official directives, Minh said. Local fishermen, meanwhile, weren't allowed to search the sea for the victims.

In the end, it was local fishermen that managed to find the victims after taking on rescue efforts Wednesday morning.

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