Typhoon moves SIA jet

MANILA - Two planes, including a Singapore Airlines (SIA) Boeing B777-200, were damaged at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, as strong winds during a typhoon moved the aircraft.

The SIA plane had its left wing damaged after hitting an air bridge in Terminal 1, while a Malaysia Airlines plane impaired its fuselage after turning 45 degrees and hitting a service staircase, a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said.

SIA said there were no passengers or crew on board, and engineers would assess the jet once the storm eased.

About 230 international and local flights were cancelled and the airport suffered some structural damage during the first typhoon of the Philippines' brutal rainy season.

Ferocious winds from Typhoon Rammasun tore roofs off houses, overturned cars and ripped trees out of the ground in Manila, as well as in remote fishing villages hundreds of kilometres away.

"I thought I was going to die. I went out to look for petrol in case we needed to evacuate, but it was a mistake," said tricycle driver Pedro Rojas, 35, as he nursed a cut head while sheltering at a town hall on the outskirts of Manila.

"My tricycle rolled over twice after I slammed into sheets of rain. It was like hitting a wall... huge tin roofing was flying everywhere."

Falling trees, poles and walls killed at least 11 people across the northern parts of the Philippines that Rammasun swept over, with wind gusts approaching 200kmh, the authorities said.

The national disaster-management council reported five fatalities, while the local authorities confirmed six others.

One was a rescue worker who died in the capital when a government building collapsed on him, while falling trees killed two elderly people in rural areas of a province neighbouring Manila.

Rammasun, which in Thai means "God of Thunder", tore in from the Pacific Ocean with wind gusts of about 250kmh and smashed into poor fishing communities in the east of the archipelago on Tuesday night.

It weakened slightly as it cut across the main island of Luzon and exited into the South China Sea yesterday afternoon. Weather forecasters warned it may pick up strength again, as it tracks towards southern China.

The eye of the storm just missed Manila, home to more than 12 million people.