Tamil Nadu: At least nine trekkers feared dead in Theni forest fire

Theni Fire

Theni Fire

The district collector K Veera Raghava Rao who is at the GRH said that the chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and the health minister C Vijaya Baskar are likely to visit the patients take at the GRH later in the day. They had gone trekking without informing anyone and only after the fire spread the Forest Department received distress calls for help.

Thirty of the trekkers, mostly students, have been rescued and were rushed to a government hospital. The team included 25 women and three children, according to Theni District Collector Mariam Pallavi Baldev. A team of 27 trekkers from Chennai including school students were part of the trekking team trapped in the forests. "They should have either stopped these people from going in, considering there have been sporadic and widespread forest fire during the last few days in the region", said an official involved in the tough rescue operation, requesting anonymity. He also thanked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for deploying the IAF team in the rescue effort.

The Air Marshal was in Hyderabad on Sunday but had quickly despatched a couple of helicopters from the IAF airbase in Sulur in Coimbatorein western Tamil Nadu at around 7.30 pm. The official said it is not known how they reached the spot and if it was with or without the knowledge of the Forest Department.

"As of now I have not got any information on deaths". She said some of those located to Kurangani Hills had suffered burn injuries. Fire and ambulance are on standby. "If necessary, we will ask the Central government for further assistance", Palaniswamy said. "There are many places in the forest that are restricted", Dindigul Srinivasan, forest minister, said. "Normally such expeditions are not allowed at this time of the year because of recurring forest fires", said H Basavaraju, Principal Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu.

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