10 Foreigners Dead in Chilean Hotel Fire

A fire swept through a small hotel in this southernmost Chilean city early Saturday leaving 10 foreign tourists dead, a Fire Department commander said.

Commander Rene Mansilla said four of the victims were from Argentina, four from Germany and two from Holland.

Mansilla said the identities of the victims were not immediately available because the fire destroyed most of their documents and the hotel registration book.

"Police are working on that but clarifying the situation may still take a couple of days," he added.

He said the nationalities of the victims were established because an employee of the Blue House hotel recalled assigning them the rooms.

The cause of the fire was being investigated. Mansilla said the hotel's rooms did not have fire detectors.

Most of the victims apparently died of suffocation, he said.

Twenty-one tourists were at the hotel when the fire broke out.

Punta Arenas, located on the Strait of Magellan, is a popular jumping off point for Patagonia-region attractions, most notably the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park.