World

Hong Kong closes offices, halts ferries while typhoon passes on way to Chinese mainland

Hong Kong closed offices, schools and transportation services and the stock market was halted on Wednesday morning as a typhoon passed by the Asian financial center.

Dozens of flights were canceled and bus and ferry services were curtailed as Typhoon Utor approached.

Winds gusted up to 139 kph (86 mph). The center of the storm was about expected to skirt around 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of Hong Kong before hitting southern China's Guangdong province.

Utor was centered about 260 kilometers from Hong Kong at 10 a.m. local time and was moving northwest at about 16 kph, forecasters said. The storm brought gale-force winds, rough seas and squally showers.

One person in Hong Kong was reported injured.

Some 94 flights arriving at or leaving from the city's airport are canceled while another 107 flights have been delayed.

Along the coast of Guangdong, authorities were calling fishing boats back to port and securing buildings and equipment at aquaculture farms. The storm was expected to make landfall near the city of Maoming in the afternoon before traveling northwest into Guangxi province.

Some flights and train service was suspended on the island province of Hainan to the south. Almost 2,000 passengers were stranded Tuesday at the airport serving the resort city of Sanya.

Utor was this year's strongest typhoon globally before it crossed the Philippines earlier this week, leaving at least six dead.

One woman in northeastern Isabela province was captured on camera being swept away by a raging river. Her body was found later.

Rescuers were still struggling to reach at least three isolated towns in the hardest-hit Aurora province, where the typhoon slammed ashore.

"As of now, we don't have communication (with the three towns) and the roads are not passable, even to motorcycles, due to landslides, rockslides, and uprooted trees," said Rey Balido, spokesman for the national disaster agency. He said authorities were taking alternate routes and that the Philippine Air Force will deliver relief goods.

______

Hrvoje Hranjski in Manila and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.