Typhoon Xangsane Batters Philippines, 17 Dead

The death toll from a powerful typhoon that cut across the northern Philippines rose to 17 on Friday as schools and offices in Manila remained closed for a second day.

The Office of Civil Defense and local officials reported at least 17 people were killed on Thursday, mostly from drowning and accidents involving fallen trees and billboards as Typhoon Xangsane sliced through the central Bicol region and Manila with fierce winds and pounding rains.

The dead included a drunken man who fell into a river in central Antique province, a driver pinned under the steel frames of a giant billboard that fell on his van in Manila's financial district of Makati, and a man hit by a falling tree in Albay province southeast of Manila, officials said.

CountryWatch: Philippines

The entire northern island of Luzon was left without power on Thursday but electricity was restored to 36 percent of consumers by Friday morning, the state-run National Transmission Corp. reported.

The typhoon packed maximum winds of 81 mph and gusts of up to 100 mph when it came ashore overnight in the Bicol region, where it knocked out electricity in five provinces.

It weakened into a storm with winds of 69 mph as it passed over Manila and moved to the South China Sea Thursday evening, heading west toward Vietnam at 14 mph with gusts of up to 88 mph, forecasters said.

It was the strongest typhoon to hit Manila in 11 years. In November 1995, the 163 mph super typhoon Angela battered the Philippine capital and the central provinces, leaving 936 people dead.

Xangsane, the Laotian word for elephant, is the 10th typhoon this season.

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