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Dam break investigation begins

Three children were critically injured Wednesday when a dam broke in southeast Missouri.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | December 15, 2005

Three children were critically injured Wednesday when a dam broke in southeast Missouri.

According to the Missouri Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), more than a billion gallons of water from the Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Plant mountain-top reservoir rushed down into a valley when the dam broke. The three injured children were part of the family that served as superintendents of a nearby state park. They lived in a home near the base of the reservoir.

Several cars were washed away and authorities had advised residents in nearby Lesterville to get to higher ground in case of further flooding from the lower reservoir. Rural areas of Reynolds and Iron counties were both threatened when the burst sent water rushing down part of the Black River.

The dam is on a reservoir operated by Ameren UE electrical utility. Company officials say their machines pumped too much water into the reservoir, causing it to burst. The company is investigating why the plant's back-up machines did not catch the error.


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