9 Dec 2002

Six people are missing after a typhoon hits Guam

11:13 am on 9 December 2002

Six people are missing after a petrol storage tank exploded when a typhoon hit the US territory of Guam in the north Pacific.

Typhoon Pongsona has now passed over Guam and is hitting Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands, which have lost international contact.

The Pacific Daily News said during the typhoon a petrol tank exploded and a dry dock was drifting in the harbour after breaking loose.

A civil defence official confirmed that six men were unaccounted for in the area of the explosion.

However the official said they had no clear picture of what had happened as there was a large amount of debris, power was down and it was raining heavily.

Earlier, Governor Carl Gutierrez declared a state of emergency and called out the national guard and emergency shelters were opened.

The Guam office of US National Weather said the storm had slammed into Rota with sustained winds of 241kilomtres per hour.

The storm was also producing waves up to 10 metres high.