At least 11 people have been killed after a fire broke out at a luxury hotel in the Georgian Black Sea resort city of Batumi. The Leogrand hotel was due to host the Miss Georgia beauty pageant over the weekend.
The hotel fire also hurt at least 21 people, according to the Russian Interfax news agency. An Iranian man was among the dead, and an Israeli and several Turkish citizens were wounded.
Georgia's Interior Ministry said the injured had been taken to hospital.
Russia's TASS news agency quoted the government sources as saying that the Miss Georgia 2017 participants were having dinner at the Leogrand hotel when the fire erupted late Friday.
The cause of fire was not immediately clear, but authorities blamed fire regulations for the probable accident.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who stopped off in Batumi on his way back from an EU summit in Brussels, expressed his grief over the deaths and said that those responsible for the fire would be punished.
All the fatalities died of smoke inhalation, according to the Interior Ministry.
The contest that was to have been held in the hotel on Saturday has been postponed, one of the organizers said.
shs/rc (dpa, AP)