Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

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

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

"While the trekkers were coming down, they came across forest fire and the group got divided", she said.

Around 20 students belonging to the group of 40 trekkers are said to be trapped inside the forest.

Theni District Collector Pallavi Baldev told reporters here that no casualty was reported so far. "While 30 of trekkers were rescued, the charred bodies of five students have been found", a police official said. "Operation continues", reads Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's tweet on the forest fire in Tamil Nadu.

It is suspected that the fire was caused by a cigarette butt discarded by one of the tourists. "Fifteen people have received burn injuries", she said.

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.

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The deceased include four women, four men and a child.

A major fire broke out in the forest areas of Tamil Nadu's Theni district on Sunday.

With little or no communication facilities in the remote woods, due to lack of mobile phone towers, information was hard to get.

"I spoke to the Theni Collector and we have flawless coordination with the district officials". Nevertheless, the rescue operations using helicopters were also not very effective as it was quite dark and because it was deep forest. Instructed Indian Air Force to help in rescue & evacuation.

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District Superintendent of Police V Baskaran and reveune and forest officials were taking steps to rescue the students from the trapped site.

Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said rescue teams comprising officials and health department personnel were camping in the hills.

"The rescue helicopters will start from Sulur early and will reach the spot at the first light of the day. The ambulance service then called us", the official said.

Shaktikala, a yoga teacher who is among those trapped in the forest hills, had gone along with her two daughters, Sadhana and Bhavana.

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