3 dead, 7 missing after Chilean quake

Published April 23, 2007

SANTIAGO, Chile - An earthquake in remote southern Chile Saturday shook free a landslide that smashed into a narrow fjorde causing 25-foot waves that swept away 10 beachgoers.

Rescuers were searching the cold Pacific waters for the other missing people from the beach after the 6.2 magnitude quake the day before, authorities said.

Oscar Catalan, the mayor of the nearby town of Puerto Aysen, saw six people at the shore pulled away by the current, according to the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

A correspondent for television network Chilevision, Orlando Adriazola, also reported seeing a wave drag a man and his young daughter into the water.

The government's Emergency Bureau said there was no tsunami after the earthquake.

The waves were apparently created when several landslides from neighboring hills crashed into the sea at the bottom of the narrow fjord, causing the water level to rise steeply, said Juan Cayupi, a volcanologist investigating the incident for the government.

"There were some boats in the area and waves destroyed them," said Cayupi, who was also at the beach at the time of the quake and spoke to the Associated Press by telephone.

"The boat we arrived in was thrown on top of a tree, partly destroyed."