Following days of torrential rain, a massive landslide washed away homes and left 19 people missing in a popular resort town in central Japan on Saturday, according to local officials.
A flood of mud obliterated some structures and buried others in Atami, southwest of Tokyo, with residents fleeing as it smashed over a hillside road, according to television video.
“I heard a horrible sound and saw a mudslide flowing downwards as rescue workers were urging people to evacuate. So I ran to higher ground,” a leader of a temple near the disaster told public broadcaster NHK.
“When I returned, houses and cars that were in front of the temple were gone.”
According to AFP, a Shizuoka prefecture official in charge of disaster management said: “the safety of 19 people is unknown” after the landslide.
He went on to say that the local administration had sought military aid for a rescue effort.
According to an Atami municipal official, the landslide happened at 10:30 a.m., and many houses were carried away.