TAIPEI, Taiwan — Searchers in Taiwan found mangled vehicle parts thought to be a bus carrying 19 Chinese tourists that disappeared when typhoon rains triggered massive mudslides on a mountainside highway, the transport minister said Saturday.
The bus passengers were among 23 people still missing on the island after Typhoon Megi, which killed 28 people in the Philippines earlier in the week.
Megi pounded southern China's Fujian province with heavy rain Saturday but was downgraded to a strong tropical storm with winds of up to 67 mph. TV news showed flooded streets, uprooted trees and swollen waterways, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.
The searchers found the vehicle parts in a deep valley next to a coastal highway, Taiwanese Transport Minister Mao Chih-kuo said. "The bus was covered all over by thick mud," Mao said.
Next to it was the wreckage of a second bus crushed by a huge boulder, but Chinese tourists on that bus were able to escape, Mao added.
Several buses carrying Chinese tourists were on a six-mile stretch of the Ilan coastal highway that was hit by at least seven rockslides Thursday night. A 500-yard stretch of the highway collapsed.
The rockslides stranded about 400 people in many vehicles, but all the other travelers had been rescued by early Saturday, Interior Minister Chiang Yi-hua said.
In China, the storm forced the cancellation of nearly 80 flights at the airport in Fujian's Xiamen city. Authorities evacuated 272,300 people from villages, according to the provincial water resources department.
News footage from Fujian showed waves crashing on the shore amid steady rain, and residents used ropes to secure street lamps and other objects that could be blown away by the wind. Workers tied down large boats in the Zhangpu port.