- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 26, 2009

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (AP) - A dam burst in the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital before dawn Friday, sending a flash flood into a crowded residential neighborhood, submerging hundreds of houses and killing at least 20 people, officials said.

A wave of water crashed into around 400 homes in the industrial area of Tangerang at around 2.00 a.m., said Health Ministry Crisis Center chief Rustam Pakaya. Floodwaters were up to 8 feet (2.5 meters) deep is some areas, police and witnesses said.

“A flash flood came suddenly and was horrifying,” said Seto Mulyadi, whose car was washed nearly 300 feet (100 meters) from his driveway into a public park. “My house in a dreadful mess … Thank God my family is safe.”

Mulyadi said he heard a siren sound at the dam before the water smashed out all the windows and doors and inundated his home in 8-feet (2.5 meters) of water. He said his wife and four children were all sleep upstairs and were unharmed.

Pakaya said 20 bodies had been recovered by rescue teams, but that he expected the death toll to climb because residents were sleeping when the disaster happened. At least a dozen others were reportedly missing.

It was unclear what caused the failure of the 10-meter-high (32-foot-high) dam, which was holding back around 70 million cubic feet (2 million cubic meters) of water at the Pesanggrahan river, according to South Jakarta Police chief Makmur Simbolon.

A rescue worker identified only as Toni, told El Shinta radio another 19 people were being treated at nearby hospitals.

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