Japan Landslide: Search team rescue 19 people from remains of crushed buildings

Search and rescue crews pulled out survivors from ruined homes on Sunday, a day after a landslide struck the Japanese coastal city of Atami.

Authorities said an elderly couple were among 19 people rescued so far.

Two people have been confirmed killed but several others remain missing after a torrent of mud swept the city, south-west of Tokyo, on Saturday.

Footage showed rescue workers searching for life in the remains of crushed buildings.

The Asahi news website said Yoshie Yuhara and her husband Eiji, both 75, were among those rescued on Sunday after 26 hours. They said that when the landslide hit they heard “a roaring, like heavy machinery” and fled to the top of their three-storey home just before the lower floors were inundated

Naoto Date, a 55-year-old actor, returned to his hometown on Saturday to see the damage for himself.

“I just wanted to cry,” he said. “Many elderly people were living there. The thought that there might be people who failed to escape from the disaster makes me really sad.”

Yuta Hara, a spokesman for Atami city hall, told Reuters news agency that the rain had made the ground unstable and about 387 people had been evacuated.

Residents said the mudslide struck at about 10:30 local time on Saturday after days of heavy torrential rains.

The amount of rainfall the city sees for the entire month of July, it received in the first three days of this month.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of residents in Shizuoka, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures have been ordered to evacuate following warnings of further flooding in low-lying areas.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who held emergency talks with ministers on Sunday, has asked people in the worst-affected districts to stay alert and to take precautions.