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One dead, 45 missing in typhoon

At least one man has been killed and 45 fishermen are missing after a powerful typhoon battered the northern Philippines, toppling power lines and dumping heavy rain across mountains, cities and the food-growing plain.

Typhoon Utor, described as the strongest globally so far this year, slammed ashore in mountainous eastern Aurora province with sustained winds of 109mph (175kph) per hour and gusts of up to 130mph (210kph).

Footage from ABS-CBN TV network showed a woman swept away by a raging river in neighbouring Isabela province. The woman waved her hands for help as she struggled to hang on to debris while being buffeted by huge waves in the muddy waters. It was not immediately clear what happened to her.

In mountainous Benguet province, a 22-year-old man died on the way to hospital after he was pulled out of a landslide which hit the roadside canal he was clearing, said regional civil defence official Andrew Alex Uy.

The typhoon triggered waves of up to 8ft (2.5m) and left scores of fishermen missing.

In northern Pangasinan province, 25 fishermen on board three boats failed to return home, said provincial police spokesman Senior Inspector Ryan Manongdo.

Twenty others from the eastern provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Norte were also unaccounted for. Authorities were hoping they had just taken shelter in coves and nearby islands, said Office of Civil Defence regional director Bernardo Alejandro IV.

"I hope they're just waiting for the typhoon to pass and will show up as soon as the weather clears," he said.

As of Monday afternoon, the typhoon had crossed the main northern island of Luzon and was off the country's north-western coast with winds of 87mph (140kph) and gusts of 106mph (170 kph), government weather forecaster Jun Galang said.

He said the typhoon may intensify over the South China Sea as it moves toward China. He said it is carrying a lot of rain but, because it is moving fast, rainfall is not concentrated in one area. Utor is forecast to make landfall in Guandong, China, on Wednesday.

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