Flood, slide toll now at 28

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The body of 5-year-old boy was found Monday in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture, after he was swept away by a river swollen from torrential rain, bringing the total of weather-related deaths in western Japan in the past week to 28.

Koji Koide was last seen at around 4 p.m. Sunday while being carried away in the Kurame River. He was playing with three other children, including his two brothers, at the time, according to police.

Normally the river at 2 meters wide is not even a decent stream and is sometimes dry. But the recent downpours in northern Kyushu left the stream swollen and strong enough to sweep people away, the police said.

In Onojo, Fukuoka, the bodies of a man and a woman were found in a van that was hit by a mudslide on the Kyushu Expressway in Onojo on Sunday, the police said.

They were identified as Yoshihiro Inoue, 42, and his wife, Minako, 39. Police were investigating whether other cars were buried, they said.

The mudslide occurred at around 11 a.m., but rescue work was hampered by continued downpours and numerous obstacles buried in the mud, including large chunks of concrete and trees.

In Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture, the search for two women believed buried under their crushed house resumed Monday morning.