Published: Mon, March 12, 2018

15 trekkers rescued from forest fire in Tamil Nadu

15 trekkers rescued from forest fire in Tamil Nadu

About 40 college students were trapped in a forest fire in the hills above Kurangani, a tourist spot in the Western Ghats of Theni district on Sunday evening. "Operation continues", Sitharaman said in her tweets.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has directed Indian Air Force to commence the rescue and evacuation process. One of the students called her father about the incident who in turn alerted the forest department. "As of now, I have not got any information on loss of life".

Sitharaman had said that the Southern Command was in touch with the Collector of Theni. At least 24 of those trapped are from Chennai, said officials. "They were trapped in the fire as they were coming down to Bodinayakkanur via the Korangani area, a popular route which takes a day", said a senior forest official.

The team of forest officials which rushed to the spot saved a batch of 17 students, including a girl student. They were on their way back to Kurangani hills when they got caught in the fire.

The helicopters undertook a survey of the area and returned to neighbouring Madurai.

She, however, said that there was no report of any deaths but some have sustained serious injuries.

Speaking while on his way to Bodi to meet survivors at the government hospital, Deputy Chief Minister O Paneerselvam said that the task of rescuing the trekkers is being accelerated and has been happening at a fast pace.

The rescue operation is still continuing. So far the cause of the fire is still not known. Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force have been pressed into service.

Fire tenders have also reached the spot.

They included 25 women and three children. Police and workers in a nearby tea estate are also helping.

District Superintendent of Police V Baskaran and revenue and forest officials were also overseeing the operations.

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