Earthquake in East Timor Kills at Least One, Leaves 15 Missing
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A major earthquake struck deep under the Timor sea, creating tidal waves that swept houses away and damaged fishing boats in East Timor. One person died and 15 others were missing, officials said today.
The quake, with a magnitude of 6.9, struck Sunday near the East Timor capital of Dili, 1,250 miles east of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. It lasted about 10 seconds.
Dr. Hartawati Tarigan, a doctor at a Dili hospital, confirmed the death and said 20 people had been hospitalized. Five of them remained in the hospital today, after being injured by falling beams and walls in their homes.
Fifteen people were missing after the quake, said East Timor Police Chief Col. Andreas Soegijanto. He said they were presumed to have been swept away by tidal waves caused by the quake, whose epicenter was 81 miles southeast of Dili and 20 miles beneath the Timor Sea.
The giant waves swept away at least five houses and damaged about 40 fishing boats, he said.
Nine of the missing were from the coastal village of Marine, near Dili.
Lt. Budi, a spokesman for Dili police, said the capital’s harbor was badly damaged and several office buildings and homes had gaping cracks and collapsed roofs.
Five aftershocks in the hours following the quake initially prevented people from returning to their homes, he said. But he added that some shops had reopened and streets were once again full of traffic.
In December 1992, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 killed at least 2,500 people and destroyed thousands of buildings in Flores Island in eastern Indonesia.